Britain, Canada ally to boost support for global coal phase-out

The U.S. is effectively a global pariah in the international fight against climate change. But other developed nations are stepping up and taking steps to mitigate climate change in the absence of U.S. engagement and leadership.


  • Britain and Canada will urge nations at U.N. climate talks to join them in a global alliance to phase out coal, defying U.S. lobbying in favor of the fossil fuel at the same event.
The 'U.S. lobbying' referred to is the presentation at the U.N. climate conference in Bonn entitled "The Role of Cleaner and More Efficient Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Power in Climate Mitigation". White House energy policy adviser George David Banks gamely responded to singing activists protesting the presentation with this quip: "Excellent singing. I think we should do karaoke after this."

Though some reports suggest that we must rely on fossil fuels while renewable energy output is expanded, the optics were somewhat unfortunate to say the least, with Michael Bloomberg tweeting this about the event:

While Britain and Canada are pursuing a global coal phase-out, China and India are offsetting the Trump administration's inaction by supporting stronger climate policies. In fact, these two countries may even outperform their objectives:

  • China was on track to over-achieve its pledge under the Paris Agreement to peak its carbon emissions by 2030, it said. And India was also making progress to limit a surge in emissions driven by more coal use.

The U.S. still has some like-minded friends, however.

  • As coal output flags in Poland, that country is turning to its fossil fuel soulmate: Donald Trump. In fact, Present Trump promised the Poles during his summer visit: "Whenever you need energy, just give us a call.". With winter setting in, Warsaw is apparently taking him up on the offer.
Is the U.S. destined to wander in the wilderness of climate denial for all time? John Abraham of The Guardian sees reason for optimism in, of all places, Al Gore's sequel to An Inconvenient Truth. But first, he notes the bad news:

"The election in the US was a climate disaster and it is turning out to be worse than we could have feared. The US President and Congress are doing everything they can to ensure more rapid and devastating climate change."

And the good news? Abraham notes:

"People are investing in clean energy because it makes economic sense. And this is the inflection point that makes the clean energy revolution unstoppable. That's why I am optimistic. That's why Al Gore is optimistic. That's the threaded message in his movie. And it's why you should be optimistic too."

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