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

© Reuters.  Exclusive: Britain, Canada ally to boost support for global coal phase-out© Reuters. Exclusive: Britain, Canada ally to boost support for global coal phase-out

By Nina Chestney and Alister Doyle

BONN, Germany (Reuters) – Britain and Canada will urge nations at U.N. climate talks on Thursday to join them in a global alliance to phase out coal, a letter seen by Reuters shows, defying U.S. lobbying in favor of the fossil fuel at the same event.

Their Powering Past Coal alliance, which also includes the low-lying Marshall Islands, will be launched in Bonn days after a pro-coal presentation by the Trump administration jarred with many ministers who want the talks to focus on cleaner energy sources.

The pact is expected to attract at least another nine countries, a source close to the matter told Reuters.

Mexico, France, Finland, New Zealand, Italy and an African country, are expected to sign up on Thursday, as well as at least 20 other entities including U.S. states, Canadian provinces and businesses.

Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, which aims to wean the world economy off fossil fuels, several countries have pledged to phase out coal, including Britain, Canada, France and the Netherlands.

“Joining Powering Past Coal is an opportunity to bring these national initiatives together, with sub-national and private sector action,” said the letter to around 100 ministers gathered at the talks.

A group of around 100 countries formed a “high-ambition coalition” in Paris in 2015 that seeks to go beyond the 2 degree Celsius limit on global warming set down in Paris, a level the Marshall Islands and states in similar positions say may not be enough to stop them being submerged by the end of the century.

Coal is responsible for more than 40 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

The letter was signed by Britain’s climate change and industry minister Claire Perry, Canadian minister of environment and climate change Catherine McKenna and the Marshall Islands’ minister for foreign affairs and trade, John Silk.

“We would strongly urge you to sign or endorse the declaration of the global alliance to Power Past Coal,” they said.

The letter said the alliance would work to expand its partners to 50 by the next U.N. climate summit in 2018 which will be held in Poland’s Katowice, one of Europe’s most polluted cities.

Germany, where the current U.N. climate conference is being held, was not mentioned as a signatory. Divisions over the pace of exit from coal power have this week dominated talks in Berlin on forming a new German coalition government.

Last month, Britain and Canada joined forces to focus on getting rid of coal as a power source.

(editing by John Stonestreet) OLUSECON Reuters US Online Report Economy 20171115T184848+0000

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