UK and Canada pushing coal closure Alliance at UN climate Conference COP23

October 18, 2017 at 5:03 pm 1 comment

Anglesea coal mine

The United Kingdom and Canada have formed an alliance to champion phase out of unabated coal at the UN Climate Conference in Bonn – COP23 – in November 2017. After hearing the latest energy policy announcement from Prime Minister Turnbull on the National Energy Guarantee, I doubt that Australia will be up to the task of joining this alliance. We are falling further behind the new climate leaders.

Canada’s Minister for Environment and Climate change Catherine McKenna and her UK counterpart, Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry, Claire Perry, issued a joint statement on 11 October, following a successful meeting:

“Today, we announce that Canada and the United Kingdom (U.K.) will champion a global alliance on the transition from unabated coal-fired electricityat next month’s United Nations climate change meetings in Bonn, Germany. From cleaner air, to public health, to sustainability, the benefits of moving towards low or non-emitting sources of power are clear.

“Both the U.K. and Canada have already committed to an accelerated phase out of unabated coal-fired electricity as part of our domestic energy policies to reduce greenhouse gases and grow our economies. Phasing unabated coal power out of the energy mix and replacing it with cleaner technologies will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of our communities, and benefit generations to come. We are doing our part, but we recognize the need to accelerate the international transition from burning coal to using cleaner power sources. By working together to deliver cleaner energy, we will improve public health and advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“At COP23 in Bonn we openly invite others who share our ambition to join us.”

In November 2016, Canada announced an accelerated phase-out of coal-fired electricity by 2030. Canada’s electricity generation mix has over 80 percent of electricity from renewable or non-emitting sources (including Nuclear with hydro-electricity predominating). Canada has set a target of 90 per cent of electricity from non-emitting sources by 2030. At the moment Coal-fired electricity is responsible for nearly three quarters of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Canada’s electricity sector and over 8 percent of Canada’s total GHG emissions.

The U.K. announced in September 2017 their commitment to phase-out coal by 2025. This year not a single coal fired power station was needed to be turned on during summer in the UK.

Coal fired power is down to about 9 per cent of both the UK and Canada’s power supply.

This tweet with a graph shows the decline of coal use in the UK in recent years:

Read more background on this story by Karl Mathiesen at Climate Home: UK and Canada announce global alliance to end coal power

Coal in structural decline globally

The latest report by Coalswarm (8 October 2017) shows that:

  • Over a quarter of the 1,675 companies that owned or developed coal-fired power capacity since 2010 have entirely left the coal power business. This is the equivalent of 370 large coal-fired power plants – enough to power around six United Kingdoms.
  • The capital leaving the coal industry is equivalent to nearly half a trillion US dollars in assets retired or not developed.
  • 23 countries, states and cities will have either phased out coal-fired power plants or set a timeline to do so by 2030.
  • To date, six countries, states, provinces or cities have completely phased out coal power since 2014.
  • Three of the G7 economies, UK, Canada and France, have decided to phase out coal, along with six other EU countries – the Netherlands joining the list only this month.

The coalswarm report identified that coal plants in pre-construction and under construction are declining substantially over the last year. This will impact forecasts for Australia’s coal export industry. Globally, Coal is in structural decline and indicates we need a managed just transition plan for the phaseout of the export coal industry in Australia.

It makes Adani’s statements that they will start building the Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee basin in the next fortnight such a stupid business decision and policy decision by the Queensland and Federal Governments. There is still not financial closure for the build, and Land Use Agreements with traditional owners are still to be signed.

As of July 2017 the Global Coal Plant Tracker showed 548 gigawatts (GW) of coal power capacity in pre-construction planning and 264 GW under construction, a decline of 41% and 25% respectively from the levels reported in July 2016. These declines continue the trend documented in the CoalSwarm/Greenpeace/Sierra Club report Boom and Bust 2017 which reported a 48% percent decline in overall pre-construction activity, a 62% decline in new constructions starts, and an 85% decline in new Chinese coal plant permits during calendar year 2016.

Canadian Climate Minister has a dig at former Australian PM Tony Abbott

It was during a Chatham House conference that Canadian Climate Minister McKenna made obvious reference to Tony Abbott’s denialism speech at the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London.

Read Megan Darby’s post at Climate Home: Canada to Tony Abbott: Inuit don’t think climate change is ‘probably good’

Entry filed under: coal closures, news, UNFCCC. Tags: , , , , .

Energy Efficiency mandatory standards a no-brainer Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee policy prolongs coal hinders renewables

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