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accelerating the global coal transition

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of its launch, the Powering Past Coal Alliance held a side event at COP24 in Katowice on 13 December 2018. The event celebrated progress made to date and shared experience from members and partner organisations. You can watch the full COP24 event here via the UNFCCC webstream. 

Ministerial speeches

Following an introduction from event chair Nick Mabey of E3G, Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna began the event by announcing Canada’s support for a new World Bank program on Energy Transition and Coal Phase Out. Minister McKenna also announced five of six new PPCA members – Israel, Sydney, Melbourne, Scotland and Scottish Power. (The sixth new member, Senegal, were announced later in the event.)

Minister David Paul then spoke, underlining the threat to the Marshall Islands’ existence from climate change and the necessity of a global end to coal fired power generation.

Finnish Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen highlighted that Finland has introduced legislation this year to phase out coal use in power generation and district heating by 2029, with incentives for early action ahead of 2025. Minister Tiilikainen also announced that Finland would update its NDC in the coming years.

Minister Lina Pohl spoke of how El Salvador has seen a number of proposals for coal projects over recent years, but that the government has decided that it will not support coal and will instead focus on clean energy projects.

Minister Claire Perry announced that the UK would increase its support to World Bank programmes on clean energy transition and shared the news that the UK has offered to host COP26 in 2020. Reflecting on the UK’s domestic policy efforts she highlighted the UK’s commitment to end coal use by 2025.

Bloomberg collaboration

Ailun Yang, Global Coal Director, Bloomberg Philanthropies, launched a new series of Insights from BloombergNEF, and premiered the trailer of a new documentary ‘Blueprint to Transition‘ looking at the experience of the UK and The Netherlands in transitioning from coal power generation to wind power.

Demonstrating Action

Ministers Perry and McKenna then moderated a panel session of PPCA members and partners, to discuss new developments for cooperation on addressing the challenges of moving from coal to clean energy.

Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax announced that the PPCA was creating a new Utilities Taskforce to share best practice internationally. Riccardo Puliti of the World Bank followed, speaking about their efforts to support the energy transition and the importance of learning lessons from the experience of coal mine closures over recent decades.

Mark Rowlinson of United Steelworkers spoke of how Canada’s Just Transition Task Force has engaged with communities and workers to understand their concerns and identify potential means of support. Helen Wildsmith of CCLA, spoke of how investors are seeking to engage more proactively with utilities to accelerate the retirement of coal power generation.

Lastly in this segment of the event, Jan-Willem van de Ven of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development announced they would stop financing coal.

Call to action

The event closed with the news that Senegal would also join the Powering Past Coal Alliance. Senegalese Minister Mame Thierno Dieng provided a final call to action alongside Ministers Perry and McKenna.

The six new members – Israel, Senegal, City of Sydney, City of Melbourne, Scottish Government and Scottish Power – bring the number of Powering Past Coal Alliance members to 80, including 30 national governments, 22 subnational governments and 28 businesses. All are committed to sharing their skills, experience and best practices as means of supporting the international effort to advance the phase out of unabated coal power generation.