UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called coal the most polluting fossil fuel and called upon putting an end to all the planned coal projects globally to end the ‘deadly addiction’.
Guterres pointed out that the single most important step in this direction would be to phase out coal from the power sector, and this would be a step towards tackling the climate crisis.
Guterres was speaking at the opening ceremony of the PPCA (Powering Past Coal Alliance) Summit, which comprises of the governments and associations that are committed to putting an end to coal-burning for power generation. PPCA was founded in 2017 by Canada and UK. At present, UK is on track with its vision to completely cease coal burning in its power plants by the year 2024. But it’s recent permitting of a coal mine operation in Cumbria that would produce coal to be used in steelmaking, attracting criticism. In November, UK is hosting Cop26, a crucial UN climate summit.
“Today, I am calling on all governments, private companies, and local authorities to take three steps. First, cancel all global coal projects in the pipeline and end the deadly addiction to coal. Second, end the international financing of coal plants and … third, jump-start a global effort to finally organize a just transition [for coal industry workers], going plant by plant if necessary,” Guterres said.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan said at the PPCA summit, “Having gone over 5,000 hours without using coal for electricity last year, the UK is powering forward with the transition away from coal for power generation and into the enormous economic potential of clean technologies.”
The £165m Cumbria coalmine is said to provide 500 jobs in the area that has been most neglected in the country. The mine would produce 2.7m tonnes a year of coking coal, which would be used in steel making industry. Though there is no coal shortage globally, 85% of the produce from the mine would be exported.