UK backs global deal to end cross-border financing of coal projects


Britain wants to negotiate a global deal to end cross-border funding for coal projects when it hosts a major climate conference in November, a senior government minister said on Friday.

Alok Sharma, the minister in charge of preparations for the UN summit on COP26 in Glasgow, said significant action was needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a threshold that scientists say can prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

“If we’re serious about 1.5 degrees Glasgow has to be the coal-releasing COP in history,” Sharma said in excerpts from a speech he is due to deliver later on Friday.

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“We are working directly with governments and through international organizations to end international financing of coal. It’s a personal priority, ”he added.

Britain currently produces 2% of its electricity from coal, up from 40% in 2020, and plans to phase out coal as an energy source entirely by 2024.

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But environmental activists say British financial institutions play a major role in funding coal mines and coal-fired power plants elsewhere in the world.

Coal remains widely used for electricity and other industrial purposes in China, where President Xi Jinping has said he expects carbon emissions to continue rising until 2030.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to 78% of their 1990 level by 2035 and to reduce net emissions to zero by 2050.

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And last month, the United States, the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China, said it would seek to halve its emissions from its 2005 level by 2030.

(Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Diane Craft)

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