Since Britain completed its exit from the European Union last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hoped to strengthen London’s influence on the world stage by putting countries back on track to meet global climate goals at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.
Stopping the use of coal to generate electricity is a major step in limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times, which scientists say would avoid the impacts most devastating of climate change.
But the Johnson government’s credentials have come under close scrutiny by environmental groups, with many questioning how a plan to develop a new coal mine in northern England and an oil project in Scotland fit together. to the stated objectives of the ministers.
After announcing in February its intention to bring forward the deadline for removing coal from the energy system, Energy and Climate Change Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said the government would introduce legislation “as soon as possible. deadlines ”.
“Today we are sending a clear signal around the world that the UK is leading the way in making coal-fired power a part of the history books and that we are serious about decarbonizing our electricity system in order to that we can meet our ambitious and leading climate goals, ”Trevelyan said in a statement.
“The UK’s net zero future will be fueled by renewable energy, and it is this technology that will drive the Green Industrial Revolution and create new jobs across the country.”
Britain, home to the world’s first coal-fired power station in the 1880s, relied heavily on fossil fuels for electricity for the next century.
In a bid to help meet its climate goals, Britain has reduced its use of coal in the power sector to less than 2% of the power mix in 2020, down from around 25% five years ago.
The London COP26 team, led by lawmaker Alok Sharma, is also hoping to convince more countries to stop international funding for carbon-emitting coal projects by the end of this year and phase out that support for all fossil fuels.
Later Wednesday, Trevelyan will address the European Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA) roundtable on the importance for countries to phase out funding for coal, as part of London Climate Action Week.