COP28-Climate-US-Coal 12/02 06:53
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The United States committed Saturday to
the idea of phasing out coal power plants, joining 56 other nations in kicking
the coal habit that's a huge factor in global warming.
U.S. Special Envoy John Kerry announced that America was joining the
Powering Past Coal Alliance, which means the Biden Administration commits to
building no new coal plants and phasing out existing plants. No date was given
for when the existing plants would have to go, but other Biden regulatory
actions and international commitments already in the works had meant no coal by
"We will be working to accelerate unabated coal phase-out across the world,
building stronger economies and more resilient communities," Kerry said in a
statement. "The first step is to stop making the problem worse: stop building
new unabated coal power plants."
Coal power plants have already been shutting down across the nation due to
economics, and no new coal facilities were in the works, so "we were heading to
retiring coal by the end of the decade anyway," said climate analyst Alden
Meyer of the European think-tank E3G. That's because natural gas and renewable
energy are cheaper, so it was market forces, he said.
As of October, just under 20% of the U.S. electricity is powered by coal,
according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The amount of coal burned in the
United States last year is less than half what it was in 2008.
Coal produces about 211 pounds (96 kilograms) of heat-trapping carbon
dioxide per million BTUs of energy produced, compared to natural gas which
produces about 117 pounds (53 kilograms) and gasoline which is about 156 pounds
(71 kilograms), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The U.S. had been pushing other nations, especially China and India which
are building new coal plants pell-mell, to get rid of the fuel, which causes
more heat-trapping carbon emissions than other power systems.
Saturday's action "sends a pretty powerful international signal that the
U.S. is putting its money where its mouth is," Meyer said.
The Powering Past Coal Alliance started six years ago and had 50 country
members until Saturday when the United States and six others joined, said
alliance spokeswoman Anna Drazkiewicz. Others joining Saturday include the
Czech Republic and the Dominican Republic.
"Energy transition is not an easy task and as such requires strong
cooperation and support," said Kosovo environment minister Artane Rizvanolli.
"Joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance reiterates Kosovo's clear commitment
and ongoing efforts towards a socially just and clean energy sector."
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