As many as twenty countries as well as two states of the USA have come together to form a global alliance against the use of coal and to ensure that effective steps are taken to phase it out from electricity generation before the year 2030. This is one of the biggest announcements made after the Paris Climate Accord was signed in 2015. The Paris treaty attempts to take the world away from pollution causing fossil fuels.
“In order to meet Paris Climate Agreement target of staying below 2 degrees Celsius, we need to phase out coal,” Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said in a news conference which was organized to launch the initiative.
‘There is immediate urgency, coal is choking and killing people. Market has moved; world has moved. Coal isn’t coming back,” Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna pointed out.
Powering past coal: A novel initiative at COP23 Bonn climate talks
Called the Powering Past Coal alliance, the effort brings together greater cohesiveness as well as strength to the resolve of several countries to phase out coal as well as cooperate in areas of technology in order to reduce emissions. The grand alliance is constituted of countries such as Britain, Canada, Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, Belgium, Costa Rica, Fiji, Finland, Angola, El Salvador, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Marshall Islands, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland and Niue.
Washington as well as Oregon, two states from the USA, together with 5 Canadian provinces have also joined the alliance. Though not legally binding, the collaboration attempts to increase its membership to at least 50 countries by the time the next UNFCCC climate summit is held in Poland in 2018. The event will be held in Katowice city of Poland, which is one of most polluted cities of Europe.
Green technologies to cut coal usage, encourage carbon capture and storage to be promoted
Coal contributes to over 40 per cent of international greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide as well as toxic gases like carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide. However, some of the world’s biggest users of coal such as India, the United States, China, Germany, as well as Russia, are still out of the purview of the alliance.
Ironically, the Powering Past Coal Alliance comes in the backdrop of the US Administration’s push to promote ‘fossil fuels and nuclear power in climate mitigation.’ No wonder, the US event invited protests by anti-coal and pollution demonstrators. This is particularly unfortunate as the world heads of states and governments are meeting at COP23 Bonn to discuss ways to take the the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement forward and find ways to implement it. It attempts to shift the world’s economy away from fossil fuels.
‘We show even if United States withdraws from Paris Agreement, we stand united, and this initiative underlines that,” Christian Lilleholt Lars, Danish Energy and Climate Minister, said.
Several world leaders exhort countries to join fight against climate change
Earlier, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged for ambition, leadership, and partnership to take on climate change. He spoke at COP23—UN Climate Conference held in Bonn, Germany. The COP23 Bonn has been attended by various heads of Government, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarana (President of Bonn COP23).
The COP23 Bonn Conference on climate change is a continuation of the Paris Climate Accord 2015. The historic Paris Climate Agreement has been signed by 196 countries, all of which are now party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The climate treaty urges nations to fight climate change and prevent increase in average global temperature below 2 degree Celsius.
COP23 Bonn: USA at the epicenter of climate change talks
Efforts at controlling global warming and climate change were set back after President Donald Trump assumed Presidency of the United States of America. In June 2017, President Trump announced pulling the USA out of the Paris accord. He thinks the Paris treaty is disadvantageous. An international outcry has resulted against his decision. Moreover, reports on climate change coming out of the USA are contradicting Trump’s claims.
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