Canada, UK and the Netherlands Commit to Accelerate Coal Phase-out
UN Photo/R Marklin
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Canada and the UK have announced their intention to launch a 'Global Alliance on Coal Phase-out' during COP 23.

Under the Alliance, the countries will collaborate to achieve their domestic policy targets on phasing out coal-fired electricity generation.

In the Netherlands, the new coalition government has decided to phase out coal by 2030.

13 October 2017: One indication that the global transition towards low-carbon forms of energy is picking up speed is the decline in demand for coal, as renewable energy sources are becoming increasingly attractive for building new generation capacity and countries are making efforts to decommission existing coal-fired power plants. The governments of Canada, the UK and the Netherlands have announced commitments to further accelerate this trend.

The governments of Canada and the UK have announced their intention to launch a ‘Global Alliance on Coal Phase-out.’ Under the Alliance, the two countries will aim to achieve “an accelerated phase-out of unabated coal-fired electricity as part of our domestic energy policies.” The partners commit to collaborate in achieving their respective domestic targets to phase out coal by 2025 in the UK and by 2030 in Canada. In their joint statement, the countries underline that phasing out coal will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also improve air quality, thereby contributing to improved public health and sustainable communities. The Alliance will be officially launched during UNFCCC COP 23 in November and will be open for other countries with similar ambitions to join.

In the Netherlands, the parties of a new coalition government have agreed to pass legislation “making it a legal obligation to shut down all coal-fired power plants in the country by 2030.” According to a commentary by the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), the decision sends an important signal regarding the risks of investing in “old energy-production models.” The analysis states that the power plants that will be affected by the decision are among the world’s most efficient and have been commissioned only recently. According to the author, this means that utility companies across Europe will likely also reconsider investments in costly upgrades of existing coal-fired power plants to comply with tightened air quality regulations and focus on investments in renewables instead. The decision could therefore have impacts on the speed of coal-phase out in other European countries. [Government of Canada Press Release][Government of the Netherlands: 2017-2021 Coalition Agreement][ClimateAction News Story][IEEFA Commentary]

In related news, Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), recently highlighted seven challenges to achieving sustainable energy, emphasizing the areas in which policy innovations are needed to provide reliable, resilient and clean energy by 2030, and noted that policy efforts around coal should be focused on identifying transition policies that will address the needs of coal mining communities.

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