US commits to shutting down its coal plants during COP28

The Biden Administration is forging ahead with its green agenda by committing the United States to not building any new coal plants and phasing out existing plants.

U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry announced at the annual United Nations climate change summit, known as COP28 and which is being held in Dubai, although no date was given for when the existing plants would have to go.

‘We will be working to accelerate unabated coal phase-out across the world, building stronger economies and more resilient communities,’ Kerry said in a statement. 

‘The first step is to stop making the problem worse: stop building new unabated coal power plants.’

Kerry said America was joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance, a pact of nearly 60 countries that have promised to accelerate the phasing out of coal-fired power stations, except the very few that have carbon capture and storage.

Kerry said the action forms part of America’s plan to limit global warming to 1.5 Celsius.

As of October, just under 20% of the U.S. electricity is powered by coal, according to the Department of Energy. The amount of coal burned in the United States last year was less than half what it was in 2008.

Last month President Biden said that coal plants ‘all across America’ will be shut down, to be replaced with wind and solar.

A move to close down coal plants in the U.S. is already underway as federal clean energy tax credits and regulations make it harder for operators to compete economically.

A report by the nonpartisan Institute for Energy Economics and Finance Analysis found that 173 coal plants are set to close by 2030 and another 54 by 2040.

For instance, Brandon Shores coal power plant located outside of Baltimore, is expected to be deactivated in June 2025 as part of a settlement between the plant’s operator and the left-wing eco group Sierra Club. The plant has a capacity of 1,295 megawatts, enough to power more than a million homes.

According to the American Geosciences Institute, burning coal produces more carbon emissions compared to burning any other non-renewable fuel. Coal power can have as much as twice the carbon footprint as natural gas.  

For instance, coal produces about 211 pounds of heat-trapping carbon dioxide per million BTUs of energy produced, compared to natural gas which produces about 117 pounds and gasoline which is about 156 pounds, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The U.S. commitment comes despite China unleashing a massive expansion of coal power generation last year.

China already accounts for about 27% of total global emissions, according to Rhodium Group, an independent research provider. The nation’s emissions output is equivalent to triple the total of the U.S., which is the world’s second-largest emitter.

Furthermore, global delegates heading to COP 28 were last week circulating a letter calling for the U.S. and other Western nations to immediately ban new natural gas infrastructure projects.

Fox’s Thomas Catenacci and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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