Britain’s government: 'End of coal is in sight'
GLASGOW-The Associated Press
Britain’s government has claimed that the “end of coal is in sight” after 18 countries including Poland, Vietnam and Chile committed for the first time to phase out and not build or invest in new coal power.
The statement, issued late on Nov. 3 during the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, said more than 40 nations are committing to end all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally, as well as rapidly scale up clean power generation. Participating nations also commit to phasing out coal power in the 2030s for major economies, and the 2040s for smaller economies.
Separately, the statement also said that Chile and Singapore have joined a U.K.-led alliance on phasing out coal that includes over 150 countries and businesses such as HSBC and NatWest bank.
U.K. business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it was a “milestone moment in our global efforts to tackle climate change.”
But Ed Miliband, the opposition Labour Party’s business spokesman, said there were “glaring gaps” such as a lack of commitment from China and other large emitters to stop increasing coal at home. There was also nothing on the phasing out of oil and gas, he said.
Britain has called for the world’s financial industry to channel its vast funds toward greener investments to ensure that efforts to curb global warming succeed.
Treasury chief Rishi Sunak said that the U.K. government is providing new funds to help poor countries cope with climate change. But he said that “public investment alone isn’t enough.”
Sunak called for a “historic wall of capital for the net zero transition around the world.”
But poor countries are angry that after Britain and other wealthy countries failed to meet their commitment to provide $100 billion a year to finance climate-related projects in the developing world by 2020.
U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry said on Nov. 3 that the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow have more energy and focus than previous rounds of climate negotiations in particular because of the strong presence and support of the private sector.
“I think we are going to have the greatest increase in ambition we’ve ever had, we probably do in these first 36 hours, and the real issue is going to be follow-up, working with them,” Kerry told a gathering of mayors from around the globe involved in climate initiatives at a local level.
His comments came as Britain called for the world’s financial industry to channel vast funds towards greener investments to ensure that global efforts to curb global warming succeed.
Kerry, nearly three dozen large corporations including Apple and Amazon, and the World Economic Forum are launching an alliance to build a market for technologies that generate low levels of carbon dioxide.
The First Movers Coalition announced on Wednesday aims to help companies set their purchasing plans in a way that will “create new market demand for low-carbon technologies,” the World Economic Forum said.
“Technology has given us the tools to reduce our emissions and build a stronger and more inclusive economy of the future,” forum President Borge Brende said. “For innovators and investors to play their part in tackling the climate crisis, they need clear market demand.”
Brende was on hand for the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow known as COP26. Among the other companies involved in the coalition are aerospace company Boeing, cement company Holcim, and vehicle makers Volvo and Scania.
The World Economic Forum, a think tank best known for hosting an annual gathering of elites in Davos, Switzerland, says businesses need to send clearer signals to their suppliers to reach the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050.
The first phase of the project will focus on emissions-heavy industries like aviation, shipping, steel and trucking. Operators of trucks, planes, cargo vessels and others would, among other things commit to using more sustainable fuels that have lower CO2 emissions.
In the meantime, the Kremlin has rejected U.S. President Joe Biden’s criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin for not attending the U.N. climate conference.
“His tundra is burning, literally, the tundra is burning. He has serious, serious climate problems, and he is mum on willingness to do anything,” Biden said on Nov. 2 of Putin and the wildfires that scorched Siberia this summer.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Nov. 3 that Moscow does not agree with Biden’s characterization. He said the Russian delegation at COP26 actively participated in the summit.
“Russia’s climate action don’t have the goal of being pegged to an event,” Peskov said. “Of course, we are not belittling the significance of the event in Glasgow, but Russia’s actions are consistent, serious and well-thought-through.”
The tundra indeed is burning,” Peskov continued. “But let’s not forget that forests are burning in California, and in Turkey, and in other countries. These are the consequences of climate change we’re facing, and Russia, to some extent, is facing more serious challenges.”
Moscow is taking “a very responsible stance” when it comes to tackling climate change, the Kremlin spokesman stressed, and has “concrete work plans.”
“Most likely, all this was not reported to the president of the U.S. when he spoke about the non-participation of Russia,” Peskov concluded.
The impact of climate change from more frequent cyclones to tidal flooding is devastating Bangladesh where an estimated 30 million people in the country may be displaced from the coast.
Countries like Bangladesh, which contributes a fraction of the world’s emissions, are pressing for more financing support to cope with these problems at the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow.
A decade-old deal for rich countries to give poor nations $100 billion each year to switch to clean energy and adapt to climate change hasn’t been fulfilled. And the little that has been given is spread too thin to make a difference on the ground.