Nineteen Nations Vow to Phase Out Coal at U.N. Climate Conference

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A group of 19 countries and six states and provinces committed to phasing out the use of coal for electricity by 2025 at the United Nations climate conference on Thursday.

The coalition—led by the United Kingdom and Canada—is called the Powering Past Coal Alliance. Its members share a stated promise to phase out coal power, end financial support for coal power, and promote clean power policies. Officials from the alliance hope to more than double their number by next year's meeting, the Hill reports.

"The Powering Past Coal Alliance will signal to the world that the time of coal has passed," said U.K. climate change minister Claire Perry in an announcement Thursday. "The U.K. is committed to completely phasing out unabated coal-fire power generation no later than 2025 and we hope to inspire others to follow suit."

Washington state is the only American entity to join the alliance; although four United States governors and six state officials attended the conference as part of a climate coalition of 15 states, only Washington Governor Jay Inslee has pledged to join the coalition so far.

During their only official appearance at the two-week conference, delegates from the U.S. re-affirmed their support for coal—a move that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg likened to "promoting tobacco at a cancer summit."

"Without question, fossil fuels will continue to be used, and we would argue that it's in the global interest to make sure when fossil fuels are used that they be as clean and efficient as possible," George Banks, an energy adviser to President Donald Trump, said at Monday's panel.

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