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article imageHalf of U.S. spending power joins alliance to phase out coal

By Karen Graham     Nov 16, 2017 in Environment
Bonn - Twenty countries and two more U.S. states have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030, environment ministers said on Thursday.
With the addition of Washington and Oregon and five Canadian Provinces, the alliance has already grown, with the goal of phasing out coal by 2030.
The Powering Past Coal Alliance, was launched Thursday at the climate talks, and involves more than 20 nations including Angola, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Portugal and Switzerland.
A demonstrator dressed as US President Donald Trump waves from a car as he parades with other activi...
A demonstrator dressed as US President Donald Trump waves from a car as he parades with other activists dressed as polar bears during a protest of the action group 'No Climate Change' at the weekend in Bonn, Germany
Bernd Thissen, dpa/AFP
Powering Past Coal Alliance kicked off
The Powering Past Coal Alliance was kicked off on Wednesday by Britain, Canada, and the Marshall Islands. In a letter seen by Reuters, the fledgling group urged other nations to join them in setting coal phase-out targets and barring further investments in coal-fired electricity in their jurisdictions or abroad.
The alliance plans to have more than 50 members by the next climate talks being held in 2018 in Poland’s Katowice, one of Europe’s most polluted cities. "To meet the Paris Agreement target of staying below 2 degrees, we need to phase out coal," Canada's Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna told a news conference to launch the alliance initiative.
“It is a rebuke to (President) Donald Trump from the U.K. and Canada, two of America’s closest allies, that his obsession for dirty energy will not spread,” said Mohamed Adow, international climate lead at Christian Aid.
Demonstrators roll a giant globe through a street as they take part in a so-called Climate March aga...
Demonstrators roll a giant globe through a street as they take part in a so-called Climate March against fossil-based energy like coal ahead of the climate change conference in Bonn, western Germany
SASCHA SCHUERMANN, AFP
Alliance formed just days after U.S. coal push
The formation of the alliance comes just a few days after U.S. government officials, along with a couple of coal company officials choose to use their only public forum to promote coal as an energy source they have decided the world can't do without.
David Banks — Donald Trumpʼs special adviser on energy and environment—used the forum to say increased coal, gas, and oil use was a “global reality,” according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). He also said the U.S. wants to help poor countries obtain more efficient coal and natural gas energy, and he warned other countries not to try and block those efforts.
In a cutting response to the promotion of coal by the U.S. government, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement said: “Promoting coal at a climate summit is like promoting tobacco at a cancer summit. It's also a denial of what's happening in the U.S. — half of all American coal plants have been retired over the past six years.”
US President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the Paris Climate Agreement
US President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the Paris Climate Agreement
SAUL LOEB, AFP
The We Are Still In campaign
A total of 20 U.S. states, 110 U.S. cities, and more than 1,400 businesses have pledged to cut their fossil-fuel emissions to ensure the U.S. meets its commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement—even if the Trump administration acts on its intention to pull the U.S. out.
Oregon, California, Washington, Virginia, and Minnesota are part of the bipartisan United States Climate Alliance, which is composed of 20 states and territories, representing 116 million Americans.
The “We Are Still In” coalition opened an impossible-to-miss, 27,000-square foot “U.S. Climate Action Pavilion” outside the main COP 23 venue in Bonn. They want the world to know that despite President Trump's pro-coal and oil policies, pulling out of the climate agreement and the taking apart of Obama-era clean energy initiatives, most Americans are concerned about the effects of a warming climate and the consequences if action is not taken.
The US decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord triggered protests
The US decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord triggered protests
BAY ISMOYO, AFP/File
How big is this coalition? "The coalition represents more than half the U.S. economy. If it were its own country, the coalition would, therefore, be the world’s third-largest economy. While the White House declares war on climate science and retreats from the Paris Agreement, California is doing the opposite and taking action,” said California Governor Jerry Brown.
The Trump White House’s recent policies on climate change are not in the interests of the U.S. economy and “they will not last,” said Christiana Figueres, the former executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. "The Trump administration’s impacts are going to be a 'blip,”' Figueres said in a press conference in Bonn. “Let us keep our gaze on the big picture of the transition.”
More about paris climate agreement, Global Alliance, phase out coal, Powering Past Coal, Climate change