Nov. 4 (UPI) — More than 40 countries agreed Thursday at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland to stop investing in the production of coal power over the next two decades — but some of the most coal-using nations, like China and the United States, did not.
Dozens of nations including Britain, Canada, Indonesia, Poland, South Korea, Ukraine and Vietnam were part of the pact at the conference, known as COP26.
The countries agreed to halt domestic and international investments in the production of coal. Developed nations agreed to end their support in the 2030s, and developing signatories in the 2040s.
“Today’s commitments, brought together through UK-led efforts including the new ‘Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement,’ encompass developed and developing countries, major coal users and climate-vulnerable countries,” the British government, which is hosting the conference in Glasgow, said in a statement.
“This includes 18 countries committing for the first time to phase out and not build or invest in new coal power, including Poland, Vietnam, and Chile, marking a milestone moment at COP26 in the global clean energy transition.”
Some climate experts have said developed countries should phase out coal sooner, during the 2020s, to keep pace with a goal of limiting global temperatures just 1.5 Celsius above preindustrial levels.
“This is not a game-changer,” Elif Gundüzyeli, senior coal policy coordinator at the campaign group Climate Action Network Europe, told The Guardian. “A 2030 phase-out deadline should be a minimum, and this agreement doesn’t have that.
“No one wants to put money in coal anymore.”
Kwasi Kwarteng, British business and energy secretary, said the plan gives countries a starting point to end coal use.
“Today marks a milestone moment in our global efforts to tackle climate change as nations from all corners of the world unite in Glasgow to declare that coal has no part to play in our future power generation,” Kwarteng said in a statement.
“Spearheaded by the U.K.’s COP26 presidency, today’s ambitious commitments made by our international partners demonstrate that the end of coal is in sight. The world is moving in the right direction, standing ready to seal coal’s fate and embrace the environmental and economic benefits of building a future that is powered by clean energy.”