UK and Canada lead coal phase-out alliance at COP23

The UK and Canada hope to build momentum behind a global alliance to scrap coal power, after launching the initiative with 20 members at the COP23 climate talks in Bonn.

Signatories to Powering Past Coal Alliance agree to set an agenda to end unabated coal generation through measures such as setting phase-out targets and ending capacity investments – including any made abroad.

They argue that meeting the aims of the Paris climate agreement will need to see EU and OECD nations get out of coal by 2030, with the rest of the world following by 2050.

As well as the UK and Canada, the initial list of members ranges from nations such as France, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands and Denmark, to small economies including Costa Rica and the tiny Marshall Islands.

Germany's two-faced climate policy in Bonn and Berlin

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The state of Washington represents America on the list – joining an alliance whose ambitions are very different from the pro-coal agenda espoused by US President Donald Trump.

Major coal burners China and India are also conspicuous by their absence, as is Germany, where the subject of a coal exit is a politically sensitive one in current coalition talks.

Britain – whose industrial revolution was powered by coal – was among the first nations to signal an exit from unabated generation by 2025, arguing that renewable sources such as offshore wind are fast emerging as able and cost-effective replacements.

UK climate change minister Claire Perry said: “Unabated coal is the dirtiest, most polluting way of generating electricity.

“The Powering Past Coal Alliance will signal to the world that the time of coal has passed.”

The alliance hopes to have 50 members by this time next year.

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