COP26 President Alok Sharma opened today’s energy day event with a statement announcing a global transition from coal to clean power, which involved the commitment to end coal investments, reinforce renewable energy and diminish the use of coal by 2030 in major economies and by 2040 elsewhere.
So far, 190 countries and organisations have signed the pledge to reduce their use of coal, including countries such as Poland, Vietnam and Chile, which rely heavily on fossil fuels. Expressing his optimism toward these commitments to the pledge, the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng stated “the end of coal is in sight.” Despite this, some of the world’s more significantly coal-dependent countries including Australia, China, India and the US did not sign to agree to the pledge. However, the US has agreed to Energy Minister Greg Hands announcement, to which over 20 countries have pledged to suspend fossil fuel projects overseas by the end of 2022.
The Energy Transition Council and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) announced their partnership, with a $10 billion funding, a large amount of which development banks have contributed to. They intend to deliver renewable and clean energy to 1 billion people in emerging and developing countries, resulting in the opportunity for 150 million green jobs to be available by 2030. Additionally, they intend to encourage banks and financial institutions to make landmark commitments, to end the funding of unabated coal. Major international leaders, such as HSBC, have already confirmed their commitment and endorsement of this proposition.
Africa and Latin America have launched a Green Hydrogen Alliance, aiming to kickstart the development of net zero carbon and green hydrogen. This alliance involves the memberships of six African countries and five Latin American countries. Although in comparison to some of the larger projects announced today, the potential for change may seem limited, the capacity for communication and support ensures success and growth for all countries involved.
Since the Paris agreement in 2015, the global production of new coal-fired power plants has had a significant decrease of 76%, corresponding to around 1000GW saved.
These figures are reassuring and would imply that a further reduction to the use of coal may result in a revolutionary impact. Although many commitments have been promised, these pledges are not legally binding, we can only hope the leaders of our world today truly intend to guarantee our planet’s future.
Written and edited by Sophia Axon and Jasmine Ayres