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The UK Government has announced the decision to accelerate the removal of coal from the generation mix by bringing the deadline a year forward to 1st October 2024.
The UK has ambitious targets to achieve net-zero and remove their contribution to climate change by 2050. A critical target is the removal of fossil fuels such as coal from their generation and to replace them with a clean, renewable alternative. Highlighting their leading commitment to net-zero, the UK has accelerated their target by a whole year to 1st October 2024.
Coal is an important factor in understanding climate change. When burnt to produce energy, it emits a high concentration of carbon emissions which pollute the air quality and environment. Its elimination in energy systems will ensure that the global temperature increases are limited to the 1.5 degrees Celsius target.
We can see the commitment from the UK to climate change by reviewing the historic energy generation mix over the last 10 years. Where coal contributed to an almost 40% share of the generation mix 10 years ago, it now only contributes to a 1.8% share as of 2020.
This announcement comes from Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Energy and Climate Change Minister who said:
“Today we’re sending a clear signal around the world that the UK is leading the way in consigning coal power to the history books and that we’re serious about decarbonising our power system so we can meet our ambitious, world-leading climate targets.
The UK’s net-zero future will be powered by renewables, and it is this technology that will drive the green industrial revolution and create new jobs across the country.”
Accelerating the elimination of coal power from UK energy systems is a significant move that shows the leadership that the UK has in climate change ahead of the November COP26 meeting. The new legislation will be implemented to apply the newly amended deadline and the UK Government lead by example with calls for other counties to follow their contributions.
It is also important to understand that this target has become achievable as the UK has implemented a higher proportion of renewable generation sources into their generation mix. The increase has been possible due to private investment, government incentives and competition. These key components fuel the development of reliable, effective and cheap technology to harvest renewable sources.
Alok Sharma, COP26 President, said:
“Ahead of COP26, I hope the UK’s decisive step towards a cleaner, greener future sends a clear signal to friends around the world that clean power is the way forward. The impact of this step will be far greater if we can bring the world with us, and so our desire to support a clean and just energy transition is central to my discussions on the road to COP26”