Britain and Canada are part of a team of 25 nations and states that launched an international partnership Thursday to phase out the burning of coal, one of the biggest contributors to climate change.
The Global Alliance to Power Past Coal was unveiled at the COP23 UN climate change conference in Bonn, Germany. Its members have committed to phasing out coal-burning power plants, supporting clean energy and encouraging carbon capture technology.
The alliance hopes to grow to more than 50 members by next year, in a clear challenge to countries like the U.S. and Indonesia that have announced plans to expand coal use in the coming years.
Other members include France, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland and Austria. A couple of U.S. states signed up as well, rebuking President Donald Trump, who pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement earlier this year. That agreement bound signatories to a commitment to keep the rise of global temperature well below 2 degrees Celsius.
“Coal-fired power plants produce almost 40 per cent of global electricity today, making carbon pollution from coal a leading contributor to climate change,” said the declaration issued by the alliance on Thursday. “As a result, phasing out traditional coal power is one of the most important steps governments can take to tackle climate change.”
“Phasing out coal power is good news for the climate, for our health, and for our kids,” said Catherine McKenna, Canada’s minister of environment and climate change, in a statement. “Coal is literally choking our cities, with close to a million people dying every year from coal pollution. I’m thrilled to see so much global momentum for the transition to clean energy – and this is only the beginning.”