Nov 16, 2017

15 nations announce plan for 2030 coal phaseout

The coal-burning Longview Power Plant in Maidsville, W.Va. Photo: Michael Virtanen / AP

Big news from the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany, today is that multiple countries are forming a coalition to phase out power generation from coal before 2030.

Why it matters: Coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, and cutting emissions from coal-fired power generation is key to driving global greenhouse gas output downward in the future.

Ganging up: "At least 15 countries have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030, delegates at U.N. climate talks in Bonn said on Thursday," via Reuters.

The nations: Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Chile, Mexico and the Marshall Islands, according to the story.

Yes, but: The world's biggest coal-consuming nations — notably China, the U.S. and India — are not currently part of the initiative.

The other side: George David Banks, a top White House adviser who is in Bonn this week, said the administration is considering forming a "clean coal alliance," adding to comments Energy secretary Rick Perry made recently in Africa.

"The administration is interested in the idea and would like to explore exactly what that means," Banks told Axios' Amy Harder and other reporters at a briefing Wednesday.

Gritty details:

  • Banks said the following countries would probably be interested: Japan, Australia, India, Vietnam and some African countries.
  • He said the alliance would focus on first and foremost on technology known as "high efficiency, low emission," which offer gains of up to 30% less carbon emissions compared to older plants, according to the World Coal Association.
  • Looking at more expensive — but more effective — technology that captures up to 90% of carbon emitted from a coal plant would be another focus.

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