At the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP26) held in Glasgow, Scotland, more than 40 countries and more than 150 organizations announced that they will gradually stop using coal in power plants and financial support to this area by 2030.
These countries include South Korea, Spain, Canada, Poland, Ukraine, Vietnam, Chile and Egypt.
According to the agreement, major economies in the world will reduce coal use to zero by 2030 and developing ones by 2040. All these countries will end their investments in coal-using sectors nationally and internationally.
In addition, more than 20 countries, including the USA, announced that they will stop giving public loans to projects using fossil fuels as of 2022.
Considering that 40 percent of the electricity production in the world is obtained from coal, which is a fossil fuel, environmental scientists state that this decision taken at COP26 is an important step against global warming.
China and the USA, which are among the top three coal-using countries in the world, have not yet signed this agreement. China alone accounts for 50 percent of the world’s coal use.
Power plants using fossil fuels cause 71 percent of the world’s emissions
Thermal power plants that use fossil fuels cause 71 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, and these power plants use coal as fuel to a large extent. In this context, coal alone is the fossil fuel that causes the most emissions in the world.
On the other hand, the refusal of any bill on the use of oil and natural gas was disappointing for environmental activists and non-governmental organizations.
Juan Pablo Osornio, Head of the Greenpeace Delegation at COP26, stated that they have entered a very critical decade and said, “These decisions are not enough. We need more inclusive measures on fossil fuels. Despite the resounding headlines, even a small deficit is binding on countries to fulfill their promises. It allows them to choose the date.” he said.
Top 5 coal-using countries did not make a commitment
The increase in the number of countries making commitments on coal use at COP26 is a remarkable development. However, the fact that China, the USA, India and Japan, which are among the 5 countries that use the most coal in the world, do not give any date on this issue, how much will it contribute to the global warming problem?
Because when we put together Russia and Germany along with these 4 countries, all these countries realize about 80 percent of the coal use in the world.
However, Australia, which is at the top of the list of countries that use the most coal in South Africa and Oceania, which is the country that uses the most coal in Africa, did not take any firm steps in this regard.
Among the European Union (EU) countries, Poland is the country that uses coal the most after Germany. The Warsaw government has pushed the coal cut-off date, which was given as 2049 at the previous COP meetings, to 2030 at the meetings in Scotland. This was recorded as an important development.
Ukraine, which is the third largest coal-using country in Europe, stated that it will stop producing electricity with this fossil fuel in 2035.
Leo Roberts, an environmental thinker from the E3G platform, states that an important step has been taken against the use of coal at COP26 and the conditions have improved: “The second step we have to come right now is to increase financial resources for governments and investors in the transition to clean energy.”
An $18 billion economy will go to sustainable sources
Robin Mace-Snaith, head of the climate and energy department of the Catholic Overseas Development Agency (CAFOD), one of the official Catholic Church charities in England and Wales, states that this step in the coal field is just the beginning and that more countries should participate in this change.
Stating that public loans should never be given to projects using fossil fuels, Snaith said that this is the only way to keep the annual temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Stating that countries have made important promises to ensure the clean energy transition and that there is not much gap in the procedures for using fossil fuels, Snaith said, “What we need is to reach 750 million people without electricity and accelerate the transition to clean energy. “We must make fossil fuels a thing of the past.” used the phrases.
Global Witness’s Murray Worthy says the use of oil and gas has increased in some cases, but coal has come to the end of the road: “A small step was taken at COP26, and now we need to make a big leap forward.”
At COP26, along with the USA, at least 25 countries such as Italy, Canada and Denmark will close their public utilities to fossil fuels from 2020. This means that an economy of approximately $18 billion will shift from fossil fuels to sustainable energy.
In addition, a total of 20 countries such as Vietnam, Morocco and Poland have committed not to open new coal mines from 2022. Similar steps have been taken before by countries such as Pakistan, Malaysia and the Philippines.
In the 6-year period since the Paris Climate Agreement signed in 2015, the number of newly built “coal-fired power plants” decreased by 76 percent. In addition, the news that an investment of 8.5 billion dollars in South Africa will be transferred to sustainable energy was another development that made environmentalists happy.