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The effort to eliminate fossil fuels is gaining momentum at COP26

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At least 20 countries have agreed to end funding for fossil fuel projects abroad, a UK official told CNN, in an agreement expected to be announced on Thursday.

Another source close to the COP26 climate summit negotiations said the US was part of the deal. U.S. State Department officials did not respond to CNN to confirm the country’s involvement.

Several countries had already agreed to end international coal financing, but this agreement would be the first of its kind to also include oil and gas projects.

The deal “represents a change in standards that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago,” Iskander Erzini Vernoit, a climate finance expert at think tank E3G, told CNN. “We’ve seen this happen from the concepts of the niche boundary to the core of the mainstream.”

In a separate announcement, seven other countries and 21 parties, including banks and cities, pledged to end the use of coal.

Ukraine, Chile, Singapore, Mauritius, Azerbaijan, Slovenia and Estonia have joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which forces members to stop building new coal projects and eliminate coal by 2030 for developed and 2040 countries. for developing countries.

Ukraine, Europe’s third largest consumer of coal after Germany and Poland, said it would stop using coal energy by 2035, the alliance announced.

Chile, which gets about 20 percent of its energy from coal, according to the International Energy Agency, said it would advance its current 2040 phase-out goal.

The UK government also said 18 countries, including Poland, have made new promises about their phasing out of coal, announcing they would not build or invest in new coal energy.

The phasing out of coal electricity is one of the most important steps in tackling the climate crisis. COP26 President Alok Sharma said an agreement on the phasing out of coal is one of the main goals of the summit.

In October, the UN Environment Program annual report on the “production gap”. found that 15 major fossil fuel-generating countries will produce approximately 110% more coal, oil and gas by 2030 than would be needed to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and 45% more of what would be consistent with 2 degrees.
A recent study published in the journal Nature found that the vast majority of the planet’s remaining oil, natural gas and coal reserves must remain on the ground by 2050 to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Most regions of the world, according to the authors, need to reach maximum fossil fuel production now or over the next decade to limit the critical climate threshold.

And the latest forecast from the International Energy Agency said more aggressive climate action by world leaders was needed, even if the shift to clean energy leads to a decline in the oil industry.

In a strange move during the September UN General Assembly in New York, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the country will not build any new coal-fired electric project abroad. The vote marks a policy change around its extensive Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, which had already begun to reduce its coal initiatives.

Xi added that China will also increase financial aid for green and low-carbon energy projects for other developing countries.

The production gap report found that the world’s largest economies have channeled more than $ 300 billion in new funds into fossil fuel activities since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is more than who have invested in clean energy alternatives.

“The results of the modeling show that the three fuels (coal, oil and gas) must have basically started to decrease by 2020 in order to stay consistent with a path that allows us to be consistent with the limitation of the long-term warming to 1.5 degrees C. “, Ploy Achakulwisut, lead author of the report and scientist at the Stockholm Institute for the Environment, told CNN earlier. “Continuing to delay action will only make the problem more difficult.”

Correction: This story has been updated to point out that some of the parties joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance are not countries.

CNN’s Ella Nilsen and Julia Horowitz contributed to this report.

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