Coal was being consigned to history at the recent COP26, as countries, banks and organisations move away from the single biggest contributor to climate change.
A just transition to clean energy and the rapid phase-out of coal has been at the heart of the COP26 Presidency as part of its efforts to minimise temperature rises in line with the Paris Agreement. The breadth of commitments in Glasgow at Energy Day signal the world is moving towards a renewable future.
At least 23 nations made new commitments to phase out coal power, including Indonesia, Vietnam, Poland, South Korea, Egypt, Spain, Nepal, Singapore, Chile and Ukraine. In a new ‘Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement’, countries also committed to scaling up clean power and ensuring a just transition away from coal.
The announcements follow a collapse in coal financing, as developed nations have pledged new support to help developing countries transition to clean energy. Banks and financial institutions also made landmark commitments at COP26 to end the funding of unabated coal, including major international lenders like HSBC, Fidelity International and Ethos.
This follows recent announcements from China, Japan, and South Korea to end overseas coal financing, which means all significant public international financing for coal power has effectively ended.
In addition, a group of 25 countries including COP26 partners Italy, Canada, the United States and Denmark together with public finance institutions, signed a UK-led joint statement committing to ending international public support for the unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022 and instead prioritising support for the clean energy transition.
Collectively, this could shift an estimated US$17.8 billion a year in public support out of fossil fuels and into the clean energy transition. Developing countries including Ethiopia, Fiji and the Marshall Islands offered their support, signalling growing unity. This is an inclusive agenda that must recognise the development and energy needs of all economies.
This is a historic step. It is the first time a COP Presidency has prioritised this issue and put a bold end date on international fossil fuel finance. COP26 has set a new gold standard on the Paris Alignment of international public finance and sends a clear signal for private investors to follow.
Twenty-eight new members also signed up to the world’s largest alliance on phasing out coal. The Powering Past Coal Alliance, launched and co-chaired by the UK and Canada. New members include Chile and Singapore, joining more than 160 countries, sub-nationals and businesses.
And 20 new countries, including Vietnam, Morocco and Poland committed to building no new coal plants, matching similar announcements over the past year by Pakistan, Malaysia and the Philippines, and building on the No New Coal Power Compact launched in September by Sri Lanka, Chile, Montenegro and European partners.
There has been a 76 per cent drop in the number of new coal plants planned globally over the last six years since the Paris Agreement was adopted. This equates to the cancellation of more than 1000GW of new coal plants.— @Green