In a bold move towards combating climate change, the Biden administration announced its commitment to phase out coal power plants, joining 56 other nations in the Powering Past Coal Alliance. This significant step, announced by US Special Envoy John Kerry, marks a pivotal effort in the global fight against global warming.
Launched in 2017 by the UK and Canada, the Powering Past Coal Alliance aims to transition away from coal, the most polluting of fossil fuels. By pledging to halt the construction of new coal plants and phase out existing ones, these countries are demonstrating a robust commitment to building stronger, more resilient economies and communities, free from the shackles of dirty energy.
While no specific timeline was set for the closure of existing plants, other US regulations and international commitments suggest a coal-free reality by 2035. “We were heading to retiring coal by the end of the decade anyway,” climate expert Alden Meyer from E3G highlighted, pointing out that natural gas and renewable energy sources are not only cleaner but also more economically viable. Presently, coal accounts for about 20% of US electricity, a significant drop from 2008 levels.
The United States is also encouraging major coal consumers like China and India to cease new coal plant constructions. Joining the anti-coal alliance sends a strong international message that the US is serious about its climate commitments.
Additionally, the Biden administration has introduced a groundbreaking plan to slash methane emissions, a critical factor in global warming. This policy, a first of its kind, mandates oil and gas producers to detect and repair methane leaks. Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, hailed this as “the most impactful climate rule that the United States has ever adopted.” The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that this policy will prevent around 58 million tons of methane emissions from 2024 to 2038, equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of all US power plants.
For young, environmentally conscious audiences, these developments represent a glimmer of hope and a step in the right direction. The Biden administration’s decisive actions reflect a growing awareness of the urgent need for climate action and a commitment to a sustainable future. This is a clear signal that change is possible when governments take bold, decisive action for the health of our planet.