Canada and the world move closer to powering past coal with more climate ambition at COP26
November 4, 2021 – Glasgow, Scotland
The call for action on reducing emissions from coal-fired electricity generation has never been more urgent, with science showing that it is vital for countries do more and on a faster timeline to address climate change and keep the Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C within reach. Ending coal-fired electricity is one of the single most important steps the world must take in the fight against climate change. Canada and the United Kingdom, as co-leads of the Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA), continue to drive the global momentum towards that end.
Building on Canadian initiatives announced earlier this week to accelerate the phase-out of coal-fired electricity, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, today participated in the Powering the World Past Coal event at COP26 to announce 28 new members, bringing the global Alliance to a total of 165 members, with 50 sign-ups in 2021 alone.
He was joined by the Right Honourable Greg Hands, UK Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, and Co-Chair of the Powering Past Coal Alliance; Alok Sharma, COP26 President; Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency; Selwin Charles Hart, UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Assistant Secretary-General for the Climate Action Team; and ministers and business leaders from around the world.
Canada is proud to welcome new members from around the world, including Chile and Ukraine. Several organizations from the private sector are also joining the Alliance: TransAlta, a major Canadian-based power generator and environmental, social, and governance service provider; Export Development Canada, the first export credit agency to join the Alliance; Vancity Credit Union, an independent Vancouver-based credit union targeting net zero by 2040; and the United Church of Canada’s investment arm.
These new members—including businesses, provinces, and cities—have committed to powering their operations without coal, restricting financing to new coal-fired power stations, and supporting clean power. Together, these Canadian members will help move markets and financial flows to cleaner energy choices. The Powering Past Coal Alliance is now home to over 30 finance members from all parts of the world, representing US$17 trillion in assets under management.
Canada has already implemented a plan to phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 and announced earlier this week a commitment to achieve a net-zero emissions electricity sector by 2035. This will help Canada reach net-zero emissions by 2050, since a net-zero electricity sector will allow Canada to decarbonize other parts of its economy. Phasing out coal also reduces exposure to harmful air pollutants, protecting human health by improving the quality of the air we breathe.
To ensure a cleaner and healthier future for countries around the world, Canada announced earlier this week its intention to ban thermal coal exports by 2030. Ending thermal coal exports is the right thing to do—the impacts of climate change are already being seen, with the most severe impacts happening in the developing world. Moving away from exporting thermal coal also makes good economic sense, as the costs of renewables and low-carbon energy options continue to fall.
Recognizing challenges faced by developing countries in phasing out coal, the Prime Minister also announced at COP26 that Canada will provide up to $1 billion to the Climate Investment Funds Accelerated Coal Transition initiative. This investment will lead to the successful implementation of country-level strategies and associated kick-start projects, build support at the local and regional levels, and accelerate the retirement of existing coal mines and coal power plants, while enabling new economic activities and contributing to a socially inclusive and gender equal transition. In addition, the Prime Minister announced $25 million in funding to the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program, a partnership with the World Bank. This will help develop and implement clean energy alternatives, and support low- and middle-income countries in the transition to a cleaner economy.
Canada is proud to co-lead the Powering Past Coal Alliance. Through the Alliance, Canada is bringing together all those who have a role to play: finance, industry, labour, civil society, and subnational and national governments. Today’s announcement of 28 new members is a meaningful leap towards a fairer, safer, healthier world.
Phasing out unabated coal-fired power is one of the most important steps that we can take to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Any credible climate plan requires governments and businesses to eliminate coal emissions, and to do it on timelines that meet our established net-zero goals. Coal phase out is inevitable. It is now mainstream, it makes economic sense, and the transition is undeniable.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Co-Chair of the Powering Past Coal Alliance
“The Alliance is a fantastic example of how bringing together nations, regions, and financial institutions can drive change so we can consign coal to history and deliver the historic Paris Agreement. The increase in global commitments to phase out coal is a huge victory to celebrate at COP26 in Glasgow. Welcoming new members today such as Chile and Singapore will bring us another step closer to securing a greener future that is powered by clean, renewable energy.”
– The Right Honourable Greg Hands, United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, and Co-Chair of the Powering Past Coal Alliance
“EDC is committed to playing an ambitious role in the transition to a low-carbon and clean energy-fueled economy, and we know this will require a global commitment to phasing out unabated coal power generation. We are proud of our longstanding efforts to phase out support for coal and to be the first export credit agency in the world to join the PPCA. We stand ready to work with like-minded organizations to build additional momentum towards a more sustainable future.”
– Mairead Lavery, President and CEO of Export Development Canada
“TransAlta Corporation’s decision to join the Powering Past Coal Alliance is a natural extension of our company’s commitment to delivering clean energy solutions for our customers, strong returns for our investors, and reliable energy for the communities we serve. Our company will end our remaining coal generation in Canada in 2021 and the United States in 2025. Our growth plan will expand our renewable electricity fleet by two gigawatts over the next five years and deploy energy storage at a much larger scale. We look forward to continuing our contribution to global efforts to deliver an accelerated clean energy transition.”
– John Kousinioris, CEO of TransAlta Corporation
“Though Vancity has never provided financing for coal or other fossil fuels, we are very happy to join a global effort that not only seeks to phase out coal power, but has committed to doing so in a sustainable and economically inclusive way, including appropriate support for workers and communities. The financial sector holds critical keys to reducing emissions across the economy and we hope that the PPCA helps deepen the role that financial institutions play in building a clean economy that works for everyone and safeguards our planet.”
– Christine Bergeron, President and CEO of Vancity Credit Union
Coal is responsible for 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is the largest single source of global temperature increase.
A recent analysis found that more than 800,000 people around the world die each year from the pollution generated by burning coal. Moving away from coal improves overall public health by creating cleaner, more breathable air.
The Powering Past Coal Alliance was co founded by Canada and the UK in 2017 to bring together governments and the private sector to accelerate the phase-out of unabated coal power.
Since then, the coalition has grown to more than 160 members, including 48 national countries from around the world, 48 subnational governments, and 69 organizations—ranging from financial institutions to energy producers and consumers.
The full list of new members joining during COP26 is as follows:
- Subnational governments:
- Guimaras, Philippines
- Negros Occidental, Philippines
- Ormoc City, Philippines
- Koszalin, Poland
- Walbrzych, Poland
- Durban City, South Africa
- New Mexico, United States
- Businesses and finance sector
- DTEK (Ukrainian utility)
- Ethos Foundation
- Export Development Canada
- Fidelity International
- Generation Investment Management
- Impax Asset Management
- Indika Energy (Indonesian utility)
- Lloyds Bank
- SCOR Global Investments
- TransAlta (Canadian utility)
- United Church of Canada
- Vancity (Canadian based credit union)
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