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COP26: 190 Nations And Organisations Agree To Phase Out Coal

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Poland, Vietnam, Chile and other countries will pledge on Thursday to phase out coal-fuelled power generation and stop building new plants, in a deal the COP26 summit’s British hosts said would commit 190 nations and organisations to quit the fuel. But some of the world’s biggest coal-dependent countries, including China and the US, did not sign up. Countries like South Africa, Poland and India will need major investments to make their energy sectors cleaner.

In a separate commitment, 20 countries, including the US, pledged to end public financing for “unabated” fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of 2022.

Such projects burn fossil fuels, like coal, oil and natural gas, without using technology to capture the CO2 emissions.

Coal is the single biggest contributor to climate change.

Signatories to the agreement have committed to ending all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally.

They have also agreed to phase out coal power in the 2030s for major economies, and the 2040s for poorer nations, the UK said.

Dozens of organisations also signed up to the pledge, with several major banks agreeing to stop financing the coal industry.

“The end of coal is in sight,” UK business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said.

“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.”

Although progress has been made in reducing coal use globally, it still produced around 37% of the world’s electricity in 2019.

Juan Pablo Osornio, head of Greenpeace’s delegation at COP26, said: “Overall this statement still falls well short of the ambition needed on fossil fuels in this critical decade.”

“The small print seemingly gives countries enormous leeway to pick their own phase-out date, despite the shiny headline,” he added.

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