The Biden administration is set to back a plan that would crush the coal industry at the upcoming United Nations (UN) climate summit, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
The U.S. will reportedly support a French plan to get the countries of the world to ban private financing of coal-fired power plants during the upcoming UN conference, known as COP28, according to Reuters. The plan is likely to drive a rift between countries like the U.S. and France and those like China and India, which are reliant on coal to feed their economies cheap and reliable electricity.
The proposed plan would allow the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to set coal standards for private financing companies that would allow regulators, ratings agencies and non-governmental organizations to track coal financing, according to Reuters.
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The U.S., the European Union (EU) and Canada had been working together to assemble a strategy for phasing out coal, which they view as the leading threat to achieving international climate targets, according to Reuters. Approximately 73% 0f the electricity consumed in India is generated using coal, according to Reuters, and China permitted an average of two new coal plants each week in 2022, according to analysis conducted by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
India is reportedly likely to push back against the proposal, or any other proposal to set a deadline for a fossil fuel phase-out, according to Reuters. Indian delegates may reportedly push representatives of developed countries like the U.S. and France to become carbon negative, rather than merely carbon neutral, by 2050 to keep targets within grasp.
Beyond the reported plan to strangle private financing for coal plants, delegates are expected to discuss the shape and stipulations of a so-called “loss and damages” fund, a de facto international climate reparations program, at COP28. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry recently suggested that the U.S. will pay “millions” into the fund, a number that many activists and representatives of poorer countries find to be inadequate. China is unlikely to have any significant obligations to the fund because it is classified as a developing country, despite its status as the world’s topemitter and second-largest economy.
COP28 is scheduled to begin on Nov. 30 and run through Dec. 12.
Neither the White House nor the State Department responded immediately to requests for comment.
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