The historic decision to establish and operationalise a loss and damage fund and the continued commitment to phasing down coal were positive outcomes from the annual conference, however, more needs to be achieved at COP28 to stay on track for 1.5C.
Coal remains the first step to keeping 1.5C within sight. The Powering Past Coal Alliance’s (PPCA) 168 members represent a remarkable reservoir of expertise, influence and experience that must be fully harnessed to accelerate the transition. COP27 provided an opportunity for the members of the Alliance to reaffirm their commitments to phasing out unabated coal by 2030 for the OECD, and 2040 worldwide.
At the conference, the Alliance celebrated it fifth anniversary, released its first flagship report on concrete steps its members are taking to phase-out coal, welcomed four new partners, and supported a UNFCCC side event with partners and allies on grid flexibility and just transition.
Launch of Powering Past Coal report
Powering Past Coal includes 13 case studies that illustrate the practical choices, pathways, and strategies adopted by PPCA government, subnational and private sector members to end emissions from coal power for good. Drawn from OECD and non-OECD countries within the PPCA’s growing membership, these case studies span policy, social, technical, and financial solutions.
Together they showcase the action being taken by Alliance members to overcome the systemic challenges that can arise when countries accelerate coal phase-out, modernise electricity grids, shift investments towards clean energy, and commit to a just transition.
Redefining the energy sector for a clean, secure, and just transition for all
In collaboration with our partners Carbon Tracker and Pembina Institute, and allies Solutions for Our Climate and Global Wind Energy Council, the PPCA co-organised a side event focussing on clean energy build out, grid flexibility and just transition. Speakers from diverse backgrounds including government, private sector and think tanks showcased these topics and demonstrated leadership within the field.
Opening remarks from Canada’s Climate Change Ambassador, Catherine Stewart, and COP26 Envoy, John Murton, kicked off proceedings with powerful messages on coal phase-out and solutions:
The event showcased solutions and insightful discussions from speakers including, Renewable Grid Initiative, Meta, Renewable Energy Institute, National Grid, POSCO and Infinity, plus the partners.
The session was closed by Mary Warlick, Deputy Director at the International Energy Agency, who spoke to analysis from the latest World Energy Outlook and the inevitability of a clean energy transition:
Watch the event recording below
PPCA 5 Year Anniversary: Showcasing Leadership in the Global Effort to Advance Coal Phase Out
The Alliance welcomed members and partners – new and existing – to join us to reflect on five years of coal phase-out progress and mark the launch of the Powering Past Coal at the Canada Pavilion.
First up on the agenda, Alliance co-chairs, Minister Guilbeault and Minister Stuart provided remarks and announced four new partners: CDP, the Global Health and Climate Alliance, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and the Southeast Asian Energy Transition Partnership, who will all support the work of the Alliance going forward. He then welcomed Julia Skorupska, the new Head of Secretariat.
Back on stage with the Alliance, Mary Warlick from the IEA spoke to the Coal in Net Zero Transitions report (also published that day) and emphasised that the coal renaissance narrative is overhyped:
Joining our private sector panel, members Amundi and TransAlta highlighted the challenges and opportunities to phasing out coal in their respective fields. Different approaches, same goal.
Taking the virtual stage, remarks from Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa of Kyoto City reaffirmed the important role our subnational members play in the coal-to-clean transition.
The Alliance’s early members are proud to be considered first-movers in the space, exemplified by Ousmane Fall Sarr from the Senegalese Rural Electrification Agency:
Solutions to reduce consumption and reliance of coal-powered energy is a forefront issue in Chile, who joined the Alliance at COP26. Minister Pardow remarked on the challenges and opportunities facing his country:
Final remarks were delivered by toast maker Stefan Wenzel, Parliamentary State Secretary of BMWK, who reaffirmed Germany’s commitment to coal phase out by 2030 and closed the event.
From COP27 to COP28
Coal remains the most polluting fossil fuel, with aging infrastructure, and increasingly limited international available financing. Despite this, coal-fired power plants are still being approved in many countries with increasing stranded asset risk.
Switching from coal to clean has never been a more sensible choice to ensure energy and climate security. Moreover, the solutions are available to all, and real-world coal-to-clean transitions are happening.
Now, more than ever, we must work together to keep building momentum and continue to engage with countries who are not yet members of the Alliance to secure new commitments. This is a vital step towards a future without coal, without pollution from coal operations, and towards a just transition for all.
COP28 in Dubai will be a defining moment for climate and it will be essential for the UAE Presidency to do more and accelerate action to phase out fossil fuels to keep us on track for a 1.5C world.