Latest additions to the Powering Past Coal Alliance signal growing momentum in coal-to-clean transition
At the UN Climate Summit COP28 today, new members and partners, including the United States, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Iceland, Kosovo and Norway joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA), the coalition of national and subnational governments, businesses and organisations working to advance the transition from unabated coal power generation to clean energy.
These seven countries commit to not developing new unabated coal power plants and phasing out existing unabated coal plants to keep the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C within reach. The move underscores a rapid shift towards a coal-free future in many countries despite the energy crisis. The Global Stocktake at COP28 must be a turning point for international action on coal phase-out.
The United States has the world’s third-biggest capacity of operating coal plants behind China and India. Domestically, the US has not built a new coal plant in over a decade, and is on track to close more than half of its peak unabated capacity in the next several years. The Biden Administration has committed to create a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035.
The United States is also a committed supporter of countries round the world looking to transition from coal through the Just Energy Transition Partnerships, the Energy Transition Accelerator and bilateral engagement and support. They have been a leading voice in calls to end new unabated coal at COP28, the most urgent action that needs to be taken to get on track for 1.5°C.
“To meet our goal of 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035, we need to phase out unabated coal, and we urge the world to join us in doing so, while working to grow good-paying clean energy jobs. Together with the Powering Past Coal Alliance, we will be working to accelerate unabated coal phase-out across the world, building stronger economies and more resilient communities. The first step is to stop making the problem worse: stop building new unabated coal power plants.”John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, United States
With today’s announcements, the PPCA is further expanding its presence in Central Europe and the Western Balkans, where electricity production is still largely dominated by coal. The Czech Republic is the third largest coal user in the EU, with coal accounting for nearly half of its electricity production. In joining the PPCA, the Czech government has confirmed its commitment to phase out coal power generation by 2033. Kosovo, which gets 95% of its electricity from burning coal, has committed to work together with the Alliance to bring forward their 2050 coal phase-out date.
The Dominican Republic gets 10% of its electricity from coal and has committed to work together with the PPCA to develop a plan to phase it out. Cyprus, Iceland and Norway have no coal plants: Cyprus has never burned coal, Iceland has been coal-free since 1951, while Norway completed its coal phase out this year. Through their membership of the PPCA, they seek to push for a faster clean energy transition across the world and reinforce the ever-increasing momentum behind consigning coal to the past.
“By joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance, the Czech Republic has today taken another important step in the global effort to reduce emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, especially coal. The government reaffirms its commitment to end the use of coal in the Czech energy sector by 2033. We intend to work with members of the Alliance to share experiences on issues such as the just transition of regions affected by the restructuring and decline of coal and heavy industry in general.”Petr Hladík, Minister for the Environment, Czech Republic
“Energy transition is not an easy task and as such requires strong cooperation and support. Joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance reiterates Kosovo’s clear commitment and ongoing efforts towards a socially just and clean energy sector.”Artane Rizvanolli, Minister of Economy, Kosovo
The new members’ commitments demonstrate the significant progress made on the coal-to-clean transition in the OECD, despite the energy security crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 35 out of 43 OECD and EU countries (over 80%) are now members of the PPCA. Over three quarters of coal-fired electricity generation capacity in the OECD and EU is now on track to close by 2030, in line with what is required to keep temperature rise to 1.5°C.
Alongside these seven national governments, the PPCA welcomes the subnational governments of Wielkopolska and Taoyuan City, listed energy company ACEN of the Philippines and as a partner the Grantham Research Institute, further underscoring the growing movement globally to phase out coal.
The PPCA also commends the launch of the new diplomatic initiative called the “Coal Transition Accelerator”, which seeks to bring together governments and public and private finance institutions to empower emerging economies to accelerate the development of clean energy and the retirement of coal fired power plants, while supporting the communities that have previously relied upon them.
To further strengthen and drive the implementation of coal phase-out commitments following COP28, the UK and Canada will convene a PPCA Global Summit in London in 2024.
“Next year we will become one of the first major economies to eradicate coal power from our energy mix.
“It is great to have 10 members joining the UK co-led Powering Past Coal Alliance. This will bring more countries together towards cleaner energy.
“This is a huge win for cutting emissions and, ultimately, achieving net zero in 2050.”Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, United Kingdom
“The UK can be rightly proud of its record on coal having almost completely eradicated it as a source of energy in our country – and the work of the Powering Past Coal Alliance brings more and more countries together to work towards that ultimate goal.
“To have 10 members – including the United States, Czechia and Kosovo – join our ranks is an extraordinary leap forward in moving towards cleaner sources of energy around the world, is a huge win for cutting emissions and, ultimately, achieving net zero in 2050.
“But there is more to do, and I’d urge all governments to work with us so that COP28 ends with a global agreement on no new coal and accelerating phase-out to keep 1.5C alive – with our Global Summit next year an opportunity to build on that success.”Graham Stuart, Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, United Kingdom and PPCA co-chair
“We must accelerate global efforts to end our energy dependence and expansion on coal, the largest single source of emissions. It’s urgent to secure a just, affordable transition to clean power for workers and communities. That’s why, I welcome and commend the dedication of the newest members to the Powering Past Coal Alliance. I am especially delighted to welcome Canada’s neighbour and ally, the United States.
The Global Stocktake shows us that we must take urgent action if we have any hope of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Alongside a historic commitment to phase out unabated fossil fuels at COP28, we need specific commitments on coal power. Canada is calling this year to embed clear recognition of the need to phase out emissions from coal power and end construction of new coal plants in the COP28 final decision text.
Let us seize this opportunity to collectively make the move from coal to clean energy a crucial priority this year and set a path to a better future.”Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada and PPCA co-chair
“It is an honor and great satisfaction for me to receive the news from the Powering Past Coal Alliance of accepting the inclusion of the DR into this initiative, an alliance that seeks to adopt measures that accelerate the expansion of renewable energies, progressively replacing the use of coal-based energy. We will remain attentive to work together in the future of a fair, inclusive and sustainable energy transition for all”.Antonio Almonte, Minister of Energy and Mines, the Dominican Republic
“Phasing out coal is one of the most important steps countries can take against climate change. Norway’s previous coal power plant at Svalbard, which represented less than 1% of our annual GHG emissions, has been disconnected and will be permanently closed. By joining the PPCA Norway further solidifies its commitment to the global phase-out of coal.”Andreas Bjelland Eriksen, Minister of Climate and Environment, Norway
“Being part of an alliance with so many regions with experience in the field of energy transition is an honour and a big commitment to intensive work. We need to join forces in tackling the challenges of the energy transformation, especially by keeping in mind the affected workers and communities. We need to lead the way for others, who have not yet embarked on the transition, to support the planet facing multiple crises. Our joint actions are important not only for ourselves, today, but most of all, for future generations, so that they can live in a liveable world.”Marek Woźniak, Marshal of the Wielkopolska Region
The science is clear: to keep the 1.5°C goal within reach, countries need to immediately end the construction of new coal power plants and phase out existing plants by 2030 in the OECD and EU, and by 2040 elsewhere.
The PPCA’s event at 17:45-18:45 GST (Dubai) on 5 December 2023 in the UK Pavilion, COP28 Blue Zone will bring together PPCA Co-Chairs, the new members and other governments leaders to talk about the action they are taking to accelerate the phase-out of coal and urge all other countries to support a global agreement on these issues at the COP.
More information about the PPCA’s presence at the COP here
For more information, please contact:
Anna Drazkiewicz, PPCA Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org (in Dubai from 3rd to 6th December)