The urgency of phasing out coal reached new heights in 2023. The PPCA played a key role in bringing its end closer, by encouraging countries and organisations to make ambitious 1.5c aligned coal phase-out commitments and elevating the issue to the top of the global agenda. As we enter the new year, we look back at the key developments that shifted the dial on coal phase-out last year, which will form the core of our work in the coming year.
Coal is the single largest source of carbon emissions that cause climate change. With 2023 officially the hottest year on record, the urgency to take action to phase out coal has never been clearer. The latest reports issued last year, including by the IPCC, UN agencies such as the UNFCCC and UNEP, and the IEA brought home just how fast the window for action is closing, underlining the need to immediately stop new unabated coal power plants now, radically accelerate the coal-to-clean transition within the next 7 years, and completely end global emissions from coal by 2040 to keep the 1.5°C goal alive.
The current global trajectory remains far from these goals. However, we did see significant progress in the transition from coal to clean power in 2023, with the PPCA as a driving force behind many of these efforts to increase the momentum needed to urgently phase out coal in the coming years.
Remarkable new members
|Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Iceland, Kosovo, Malta, Morocco, Norway, Panama, United Arab Emirates, United States
|Wielkopolska (Poland) and Taoyuan City
|Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED), Grantham Research Institute, TransitionZero
In 2023, several countries made significant new coal phase-out commitments and joined the PPCA helping to advance the energy transition globally. With these additions, the Alliance now counts 182 members. This includes almost one third of the world’s governments and 84% of the OECD and EU governments, providing strong evidence of an accelerated shift away from coal in developed countries and increasing the pressure for similar commitments from the rest of the OECD.
New PPCA members in 2023 included countries who are stepping forward to tackle the transition despite a significant reliance on coal. This includes the US, the third-biggest user of coal power after China and India; Colombia – the world’s sixth-largest coal exporter; as well as Kosovo, Morocco and the Czech Republic, where coal accounts for 95%, 70% and 46% of electricity generation, respectively. These are some of the key countries that need to be at the expanding table for global coal phase-out to succeed.
Diplomatic push for commitments at G7, G20 and COP28
New member announcements helped the PPCA increase momentum for our campaign for more ambitious coal phase-out commitments at international climate meetings, including the G7, G20 and COP28. Within a broader push for targets for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and the phase-out of all fossil fuels, PPCA national government members kept the issue high on the agenda of global climate diplomacy.
The PPCA amplified progress on coal phase-out achieved by the G7 ministers and helped coordinate an open ministerial letter calling for an agreement on no new coal by the G20 ministers. In the run up to COP28 the PPCA launched a Call for Action on Coal and Ministers from 15 of our members penned an open letter to COP President Sultan Al-Jaber calling for an agreement on no new coal and phase-out in line with 1.5°C, as reported in the Financial Times.
And at COP itself, the PPCA hosted an event which, as well as spotlighting our new members brought together some of the most influential voices to call for action on coal first and fastest. This included the PPCA’s Ministerial Co-Chairs, Jennifer Morgan, State Secretary for Germany, Tina Stege, the Climate Envoy for the Marshall Islands Climate Envoy Tina Stege, and Special Adviser to the UNSG Selwin Hart.
Strengthened expertise sharing programme
To develop a more substantial offer for coal-dependent countries, last year the PPCA:
- launched a Just Transition Expert Group convening practitioners from around the world,
- ran a series of webinars in which our members shared experiences on grids, finance and re-negotiating long-term power purchasing agreements,
- delivered two closed-door workshops in Colombia and Morocco.
New high-level dialogue on managed phase-out
In 2023, the Alliance helped advance the discussions on scaling up financial support to facilitate a just transition away from coal in developing countries. During New York Climate Week in September, alongside Bloomberg Philanthropies and GFANZ, the PPCA co-hosted a high-level roundtable, which brought together private finance institutions, MDBs and governments to discuss experiences and challenges in financing coal phase-out. The roundtable gave strong impetus for further action, and was followed by the launch of the Coal Transition Accelerator by French President Macron at COP28. The PPCA is proud to partner with this new initiative and work together to share expertise, design new policies, and unlock new sources of public and private financing to facilitate coal phase-out.
While 2023 saw significant progress on the transition away from coal we need to move much faster if we are to limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C.
To generate the more ambitious action that is needed and support efforts to accelerate implementation, this year the PPCA will convene a global summit, hosted in London. This will be a key milestone to discuss concrete actions and strengthen international collaboration on the coal-to-clean transition. We look forward to governments, businesses, investors and other stakeholders joining these discussions.