U.N.: Coal has no place in post-COVID-19 world

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FILE PHOTO: Steam rises from the cooling towers of Matla Power Station, a coal-fired power plant operated by Eskom in Mpumalanga province, South Africa, May 20, 2018. REUTERS

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged countries on Thursday to stop financing for coal and commit not to build new coal-fired power plants. Mr. Guterres says doing so would enable a shift to clean energy.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

He spoke at a virtual clean energy transition summit of 40 countries representing 80% of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. They discussed steps to buoy economies, cut emissions and make energy systems more resilient to climate change.

As countries look to revive their economies from the slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, governments and investors have been calling for recovery packages to focus in part on green stimulus.

The European Union and South Korea have already pledged environmentally-minded recovery programmes.

But Guterres said some countries have used them to also prop up fossil fuel companies which were already struggling financially, and others have chosen to jump-start coal-fired power plants.

“Coal has no place in COVID-19 recovery plans,” Guterres said in a videolink speech to the summit, hosted by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

(With input from Reuters)

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