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The Powering Past Coal Alliance kicked off the Solutions Dialogues, a global event series to raise ambition and accelerate action on coal phase-out, convened by the governments of the United Kingdom and Canada, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Leaders from government, international organisations and the private sector called on countries to commit to No New Coal and 1.5oC-aligned coal phase-out this year to raise ambition of the new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to be submitted by COP30.

This was the main message from the High-level Dialogue hosted on 24 June 2024 at Battersea Power Station, London as the kick-off event for the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA)’s Solutions Dialogues, convened by the governments of the United Kingdom and Canada, and Bloomberg Philanthropies

At the event, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, Minister for Environment and Climate Change of Canada and PPCA co-chair Steven Guilbeault, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Fadillah Yusof, German State Secretary Jennifer Morgan, Indonesian Deputy Minister Rachmat Kaimuddin, Singapore’s Ambassador for Climate Action Ravi Menon,UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions Michael R. Bloomberg, Special Adviser to Secretary-General of the United Nations Selwin Hart, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All Damilola Ogunbiyi and Vice-Chair of Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) Mary Schapiro stressed that while the transition away from coal power is well underway, with many countries setting coal phase out dates, delivering early coal plant retirement and scaling up renewables, it is not yet fast enough to keep 1.5oC in reach.

Leaders called on countries to commit to No New Coal and 1.5oC-aligned coal phase-out this year. They also highlighted that ambitious commitments, policies and measures to phase out coal, including with targets for 2035, are required to strengthen the new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to be submitted in the lead up to COP30 in Brazil next year.

Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Fadillah Yusof responded to the call to action by announcing that Malaysia aims to reduce its coal-fired power plants to 50% by 2035 and completely retire all of them by 2044, while addressing social and economic challenges through reskilling programs for workers and promoting renewable energy adoption for new opportunities.

Underlining the scale of the challenge of phasing out coal in emerging economies, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol stressed that most of 9,000 coal power plants currently in operation are in emerging economies in Asia, are relatively young, 13 years old on average and there is still almost 1 trillion USD investment to be recovered from them. Speakers stressed that governments, public and private financial institutions and companies need to work together to overcome challenges in phasing out coal in emerging economies who need to have access to practical expertise, policy support and finance to deliver a just transition from coal to clean energy at pace.

To strengthen this collaboration, raise ambition and accelerate action, the PPCA, with the governments of the United Kingdom and Canada, and Bloomberg Philanthropies, is convening the Solutions Dialogues, that will focus on the key issues of early retirement, just transition and security of supply. The first Dialogue will be held in Chile in August, with further events in the United States, Indonesia and Singapore in September and October and more to be announced.

Moreover, the Coal Transition Accelerator, launched at COP28 by the French government and supported by the PPCA, is convening governments, international organisations and financial institutions to work together to unlock new sources of public and private financing to facilitate coal phase-out, with new policy recommendations to be issued by COP29.

Fatih Birol, Executive Director, IEA, said:

“Every future pathway for the global energy sector that avoids severe impacts from climate change involves early and significant reductions in coal-related emissions. Global coal use is already set to peak this decade, based on today’s policy settings, but greater policy action and investments will be required to put it into a steep enough decline to meet international climate goals while ensuring secure and affordable energy supplies. At the same time, international collaboration, public financial support and people-centred approaches will be essential to ensure the transition away from coal is fair and just.”

Mukhtar Babayev, COP29 President Designate, said:

“As we work with the international community to help coal-reliant countries to raise their ambitions in the next round of NDCs, we are building partnerships to signal our commitment and provide support to the parties. Our challenge is huge. Coal still supplies just over a third of global electricity generation. We have much to do to support coal-dependent countries in delivering a just transition and rendering support for workers and communities impacted by the move away from coal. But it is a challenge we must address head on.”

Steven Guilbeault, Minister for Environment and Climate Change and PPCA Co-chair, Canada, said:

“The Powering Past Coal Alliance’s Solutions Dialogues represent a global push towards a coal-free future. Today, we are echoing the urgency voiced at COP28 and underlining the pivotal role of the G20: together, we must accelerate the shift to net zero for a sustainable tomorrow.”

Fadillah Yusof, Deputy Prime Minister, Malaysia, said:

“The urgency of the climate crisis demands a global response that transcends borders and ideologies… we must accelerate our clean energy transition, and Malaysia stands ready in this endeavor.”

Jennifer Morgan, State Secretary and Special Envoy for International Climate Action, Germany, said:

“Germany is moving ahead with our national coal phase-out, and working with partners internationally in order to accelerate a global coal phase-out to keep 1.5oC in reach. The recent G7 Leaders’ Summit in Apulia has been a good step forward, underlining the recent G7 commitment to phase out unabated coal power generation in energy systems during the first half of 2030s, or consistent with keeping a limit of 1.5°C temperature rise within reach. The G7 is taking the coal exit ramp – we urge others to join us.”

Ravi Menon, Ambassador for Climate Action and Senior Adviser to the National Climate Change Secretariat, Singapore, said:

“The world will not reach net zero without Asia transitioning from coal to clean. It is not about divesting away from coal, it is about investing in the early phase-out of coal – in a way that is climate credible, economically viable, and socially inclusive.”

Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, said:

“The world is making progress on moving beyond coal, but the data tells us that we’re not moving fast enough. Together with our environmental partners, Bloomberg Philanthropies helped secure the retirement of more than 70% coal plants in the United States and half in Europe. Today’s convening was an important chance to share what’s working and develop new ideas that will help us phase out coal permanently.”

Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to Secretary-General of the United Nations, said:

“1.5 degrees is hanging by a thread. Now is the time for maximum ambition and maximum action on the energy transition, led by the G7. All G20 nations must commit to no new coal and set clear unambiguous commitments to phase out existing coal – by 2030 for OECD countries and 2040 for the rest of the world. To ensure a just and equitable transition we must ensure that developing countries are supported with finance and technology.”

Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (UN SRSG) for Sustainable Energy for All, and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, said:

“Accelerating the phase-out of coal is of utmost importance; it will determine whether we succeed or fail in our climate goals. But this must happen alongside a massive scaling-up of renewable energy and ramping up energy efficiency measures. This is the only way we will close current energy access gaps while allowing countries to meet the needs of their citizens as well as their economic objectives. Together, we can enable a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future for all.”