During the COP26 climate summit, more than 40 countries have pledged to move away from coal, one of the biggest contributors to climate change.
This is a major win for the environment, even though some of the world’s biggest coal-dependent countries, such as the US, India, and China, opted out of the coal pledge. That said, there was a separate pledge involving 20 countries (including the US this time) that committed to stopping public financing for “unabated” fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of next year. These refer to projects that burn fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas, without employing any means to capture the resulting CO2 emissions.
What is the coal pledge?
Countries that have signed the coal pledge, like Poland, Vietnam, and Chile, have agreed to end all investment in new coal power generation both in their own countries and internationally.
This signals a commitment to phase out coal power in the 2030s for major economies, while less developed nations have until the 2040s to do the same.
There are several NGO organizations that are on board with this pledge, along with a number of major banks that have also decided to stop supporting the coal industry.
“The end of coal is in sight,” said UK business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng. “The world is moving in the right direction, standing ready to seal coal’s fate and embrace the environmental and economic benefits of building a future that is powered by clean energy.”
Hopefully, the countries that have signed the coal pledge set a precedent for other countries that have decided against it.