Powering Past Coal alliance: private sector participation

On November 16, 2017, Canada and the UK launched the Powering Past Coal Alliance (the Alliance) on the margins of COP 23. The launch was well received, and a number of countries and sub-national governments committed to phasing out traditional coal power generation. As of December 1, 2017, the Alliance is made up of 27 partners who are united in taking action to accelerate clean growth and climate protection through the rapid phase-out of traditional coal power. Our aim is to sign-up 50 organisations by COP24 (fall 2018).

The Alliance is designed to bring together not only governments, but also business partners and other international organizations. The Alliance would benefit greatly from the involvement of the private sector, including utility companies; banks, financial institution as well investors; retail companies; insurance companies; renewable energy companies—and any company committed to help phase-out the use of traditional coal power.

A key priority going forward is to reach out to the financial world and get new partners before the One Planet Summit in Paris on December 12, 2017. We are working towards a high level event at the Summit where the first group of partner companies could be announced together. If you would like to be part of this, please notify us by December 6.

Frequently asked questions

Scientific evidence shows that health effects of air pollution from burning coal, including respiratory diseases and premature deaths, impose massive costs in both human and economic terms. In addition to health considerations, phasing out traditional coal power is one of the most important steps governments can take to tackle climate change and meet our commitment to keep global temperature increase well below 2° C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5° C.

Q1: What is the rationale for the Powering Past Coal Alliance?

Scientific evidence shows that health effects of air pollution from burning coal, including respiratory diseases and premature deaths, impose massive costs in both human and economic terms. In addition to health considerations, phasing out traditional coal power is one of the most important steps governments can take to tackle climate change and meet our commitment to keep global temperature increase well below 2° C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5° C.

Q2: What commitments must partners make to join the Alliance?

The Powering Past Coal Alliance Declaration states that:

  • Government partners commit to phasing out existing traditional coal power and placing a moratorium on any new traditional coal power stations without operational carbon capture and storage, within their jurisdictions.
  • Business and other non-government partners commit to powering their operations without coal.
  • All partners commit to supporting clean power through their policies (whether public or corporate, as appropriate) and investments, as well as restricting financing for traditional coal power stations without operational carbon capture and storage.

Q3: What does our business have to commit to?

Private sector partners would be expected to make a specific commitment by joining the alliance that would contribute to the phase out of unabated coal from the power sector. The implementation of these commitments would depend on the nature of your business.

  1. Large consumers of electricity would commit to:
    Powering their operations without unabated coal-fired electricity. Recognizing that businesses must often connect to the grid in countries that still use coal, fulfilling this commitment can take the form of clean electricity contracts with utilities, Power Purchase Agreements that exclude coal, or the purchase of clean electricity certificates for a company’s operations.  For example, commitments such as those made under the RE100 renewable electricity initiative would enable a company to be a partner in the Alliance.
  2. Electricity suppliers or generators would commit to:
    Phasing out unabated coal-fired power stations from their asset base within a timeframe compatible with the Paris AgreementFootnote 1 , and not building new unabated coal-fired power stations without operational carbon capture and storage.
  3. Investors would commit to:
    Restricting financing to existing unabated coal fired power stations to promote their phase-out within a timeframe compatible with the Paris AgreementFootnote 1, and restricting finance to new unabated coal fired power stations without operational carbon capture and storage.
Q4: What activities can businesses undertake to support the Alliance?

Private sector partners can bring a number of other positive benefits to the work of the Alliance. They can:

  • Support the use of clean power and renewable energy through their operations, policies and investments.
  • Develop corporate clean energy plans, targets and commitments.
  • Develop corporate policies that are supportive of the objectives of the Alliance, and communicating publically the benefits of these policies.
  • Create networks of like-minded businesses with regular peer exchanges.

Q5: Are Partners allowed to promote the Alliance’s policy and communications materials (i.e., Declaration, backgrounders, data on coal phase out, logo, web site) in their practices?

Yes, partners are encouraged to use the Alliance’s material to:

  • Promote the work of the Alliance – through speeches, industry events or via your social media channels (#PoweringPastCoal).
  • Disseminate real-world examples and best practices, and share experiences and practical initiatives on how to stop relying on coal.
  • Encourage other industries and subsidiaries to join the Alliance.

Q6: Would partners participate actively in the Alliance and its governance structure once established?

Companies would be kept up to speed with the activities of the Alliance through a nominated point of contact.  Although active engagement and participation would be welcome, there would be no obligation to participate in further Alliance activities.  Once the Alliance’s secretariat functions are further developed, the Secretariat will engage existing partners on a regular basis.

Q7: Is there any form of external audit done to provide third party assurance of commitments made?

Joining the Alliance is a voluntary commitment for national, sub-national, and private sector partners. Organizations that associate themselves with the declaration are expected to undertake their own due diligence to make sure that their activities are aligned with the commitments outlined in the Powering Past Coal Alliance Declaration.

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