7 months ago

COP26 president says end of coal is ‘in sight’

COP26 in Glasgow

COP26 President Alok Sharma speaks during the UN climate change conference in Glasgow. Photo by Yves Herman/Reuters

The president of the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow on Thursday said “the end of coal is in sight,” as several major coal-using nations announced steps Thursday to wean themselves off of the heavily polluting fossil fuel.

“I think we can say with confidence that coal is no longer king,” Alok Sharma added in his address to the COP26 conference.

READ MORE: Countries pledge to phase out coal on climate summit sidelines

The British government said pledges of new or earlier deadlines for ending coal use came from countries including Poland, Ukraine, Vietnam and Chile.

Further details about which countries were doing what were to be announced later in the day.

Several major economies still have not set a date for ending their dependence on the fuel, including the United States, China, India and Japan.

Some nations have pledged to quit coal completely at some future time, while others say they’ll stop building new plants, and even more, including China, are talking about just stopping the financing of new coal plants abroad.

7 months ago

Climate activists protest near COP26 venue, urge Japan to phase out coal

COP26 - Protests

Protesters dressed as Pikachu are seen holding signs urging Japan to stop funding coal during a protest outside the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, United Kingdom. Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images

Protesters dressed in giant life-sized Pikachu costumes called on Japan to phase out coal Thursday, as world powers continued to negotiate at the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow.

Activists from No Coal Japan urged the Japanese government to stop financing coal projects overseas and to phase out coal domestically by 2030.

Ayumi Fukakusa, a campaigner from Friends of the Earth Japan, accused Japan of breaking its pledge to end its dependence on the fuel by “expanding” coal plants.

The demonstration came as several major coal-using nations at the COP26 conference pledged for the first time to phase out their use of coal or to speed up existing plans to do so.

The British government said pledges of new or earlier deadlines for ending coal use came from countries including Poland, Ukraine, Vietnam and Chile.

Further details about which countries were doing what were to be announced later Thursday.

7 months ago

Climate activists block roads outside British Parliament

Insulate Britain activists prostest in London

Insulate Britain activists have their hands glued to the pavement as they block a road outside the Houses of Parliament during a protest in London on Nov. 4. Photo by Henry Nicholls

LONDON — Dozens of climate change activists blocked roads outside the Parliament in London on Thursday, some gluing themselves to the ground as part of the group’s ongoing protests.

About 60 supporters of the group Insulate Britain sat on the ground holding banners, blocking two roads around Parliament. Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said it was “totally unacceptable” that the group was “interfering with democracy” after a lawmaker was delayed from entering Parliament to take part in a session on transport.

Insulate Britain has carried out protests blocking roads and highways in London and elsewhere in the U.K. in recent weeks, to demand the government improve the energy efficiency of heating in people’s homes by 2030. The group has also targeted London’s financial district. Dozens of protesters have been arrested.

Insulate Britain activists prostest in London

Insulate Britain activists protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London. Photo by Henry Nicholls/Reuters


Insulate Britain activists prostest in London

Insulate Britain activists block a road outside the Parliament in London. Photo by Henry Nicholls/Reuters

7 months ago

More than a dozen nations commit to phasing out coal

Piotr Dytko, 42, a miner who has has worked for 24 years in mines, looks on as he works about 500 meters underground at th...

File photo of a coal miner at the Boleslaw Smialy coal mine in Poland in 2015. Photo by REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

GLASGOW, Scotland — Britain’s government has claimed that the “end of coal is in sight” after 18 countries including Poland, Vietnam and Chile committed for the first time to phase out and not build or invest in new coal power.

The statement, issued late Wednesday during the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, said more than 40 nations are committing to end all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally, as well as rapidly scale up clean power generation. Participating nations also commit to phasing out coal power in the 2030s for major economies, and the 2040s for smaller economies.

Separately, the statement also said that Chile and Singapore have joined a U.K.-led alliance on phasing out coal that includes over 150 countries and businesses such as HSBC and NatWest bank.

U.K. business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it was a “milestone moment in our global efforts to tackle climate change.”

But Ed Miliband, the opposition Labour Party’s business spokesman, said there were “glaring gaps” such as a lack of commitment from China and other large emitters to stop increasing coal at home. There was also nothing on the phasing out of oil and gas, he said.

7 months ago

Yellen calls climate fight ‘the greatest economic opportunity of our time’

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak Delivers Keynote Speech To COP26

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks to COP26 delegates following a keynote speech by British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, on Nov. 03, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday described combatting climate change as both a huge financial challenge, with a price tag of $100 trillion, and “the greatest economic opportunity of our time.”

“Many renewables are now cheaper than carbon-based fuel alternatives and have lower long-term operating costs,” she said on a panel with Britain’s Treasury chief Rishi Sunak. “In many cases, it’s simply cost effective to go green.”

7 months ago

Kremlin defends Putin’s absence from COP26

MOSCOW — The Kremlin has rejected U.S. President Joe Biden’s criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin for not attending the U.N. climate conference.

“His tundra is burning — literally, the tundra is burning. He has serious, serious climate problems, and he is mum on willingness to do anything,” Biden said Tuesday of Putin and the wildfires that scorched Siberia this summer.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that Moscow does not agree with Biden’s characterization. He said the Russian delegation at COP26 actively participated in the summit.

“Russia’s climate action don’t have the goal of being pegged to an event,” Peskov said. “Of course, we are not belittling the significance of the event in Glasgow, but Russia’s actions are consistent, serious and well-thought-through.”

“The tundra indeed is burning,” Peskov continued. “But let’s not forget that forests are burning in California, and in Turkey, and in other countries. These are the consequences of climate change we’re facing, and Russia, to some extent, is facing more serious challenges.”

7 months ago

Kerry applauds ambition at COP26, but ‘the real issue is going to be follow-up’

COP26 Summit - Day Three

U.S. envoy for climate and former Secretary of State John Kerry at COP26 on Nov. 02, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

GLASGOW, Scotland — U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry said Wednesday that the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow have more energy and focus than previous rounds of climate negotiations in particular because of the strong presence and support of the private sector.

“I think we are going to have the greatest increase in ambition we’ve ever had, we probably do in these first 36 hours, and the real issue is going to be follow-up, working with them,” Kerry told a gathering of mayors from around the globe involved in climate initiatives at a local level.