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In less than a month since Canada and the UK launched the Powering Past Coal Alliance, the partnership has doubled in size, showing impressive momentum for the move away from traditional coal-fired electricity.

The new partners include Sweden and California, along with 24 new business members from around the world, including major utilities and investors as well as significant electricity consumers, such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Unilever, Marks and Spencer, and Salesforce.

By committing to powering their operations without coal, restricting financing to new coal-fired power stations, and supporting clean power, these leading businesses will help move markets and financing to cleaner energy choices.

Phasing out coal power is a pragmatic and necessary step toward meeting the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperatures from increasing by 2 degrees Celsius and striving to limit warming by no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Canada previously announced the phase-out of coal by 2030 as part of its comprehensive national climate action plan.

Increasingly, clean power is also cheap power, with the costs of renewable-electricity technology, such as wind and solar, falling dramatically in recent years. Global investment in new renewable power now significantly surpasses those in new traditional coal-fired electricity, and clean growth represents an opportunity worth trillions of dollars.

Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada said –

“I’m thrilled to see so many business leaders commit today to moving away from a source of power that is choking cities and causing close to a million premature deaths per year. The market has moved on, and coal is not coming back. Phasing out coal power is the right choice for the planet and our kids.”

Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden said –

“Coal power has no future if we are to meet the Paris goals. In Sweden, we have basically already gone through the phase out, and we are aiming for 100 percent renewable energy.”

Quick Facts

  • Last month, Canada and the UK launched the Powering Past Coal Alliance, with 27 founding partners, which included countries such as France, New Zealand, Mexico, and Angola; the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec; the states of Washington and Oregon; and the city of Vancouver.
  • Today, the governments of Ethiopia, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and the state of California joined during the One Planet Summit.
  • The 24 members of the Powering Past Coal Alliance represent a combined wealth of over $170 billion.
  • The federal government will be launching an expert task force in the new year to provide recommendations on making the transition away from coal a fair one for coal workers and communities.
  • Worldwide, the renewable-energy sector employs almost 10 million people, with employment in solar and wind doubling since 2012.
  • An analysis by Climate Analytics shows that to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting the increase in global temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius, while striving to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees, a coal phase-out is needed by 2030, in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and in the European Union; by 2040, in China; and by 2050, in the rest of the world.
  • Canada’s electricity sector is 80 percent non emitting and our goal is 90 percent non emitting by 2030.
  • Despite generating only about 11 percent of Canada’s electricity supply, coal-fired electricity is responsible for 75 percent of Canada’s climate emissions from the electricity sector.

This press release was first published on the Canadian government website.

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