Phasing out coal, powering a sustainable future

Coal factory, China. Used with permission from the photographer [www.iamtonyang.com] © Tony YangBONN – WWF welcomes the creation of the 'The Global Alliance to Power Past Coal', launched in Bonn today, as an important step toward building a coal-free future. It is time for the European Union to follow suit.

Supported by more than 20 countries and regions, the alliance demonstrates the type of collective ambition the world needs to end its dependency on coal as carbon dioxide emissions are projected to record their first increase in four years, primarily due to coal consumption.

Manuel Pulgar Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy programme, said: "The science is clear: there is no place for coal in a 1.5C world. Our societies and economies must be powered by clean sources of energy that are good for people – their lives and livelihoods – and the planet. We welcome the first steps countries and regions have taken today to make this vision a reality through the alliance, but this is only the start."

A transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies must be accompanied by the sharing of best practices to support coal phase-outs across borders, including through climate financing, and the adoption of concrete initiatives to support this transition, including developing clean energy plans and targets, in order to address and minimize social impact. Research shows that in addition to environmental and economic returns, phasing out of coal also holds human health benefits - more than 800,000 people die each year globally from the pollution generated by burning coal.

Pulgar Vidal added: "Phasing out coal is as much about stronger climate action as it is about ushering in better public health and well-being for people. Everyday, we are seeing encouraging market signals that are bringing us closer to a renewable world but we need to spark even greater acceleration to a just transition. The writing on the wall is simple: ending coal is our only way to power a sustainable future for all."

Imke Lübbeke, Head of EU Climate and Energy Policy at WWF European Policy Office added: "Already ten EU countries have joined this great initiative. It is now up to the European Union to take it forward and make Europe coal-free once and for all. Europe's future will be built with renewables and energy efficiency, which are not only cleaner but also cheaper."
 
The Global Alliance to Power Past Coal brings together governments, businesses and organizations to accelerate clean growth and climate protection through the rapid phase-out of coal power.

For further information:

Rucha Naware, WWF International, rnaware@wwfint.org; +447393776573
Audrey Gueudet, WWF European Policy Office, agueudet@wwf.eu, +32494032027 
 

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