Leaders of three major political parties in the United Kingdom have all agreed to end the use of coal in power generation, making the country the first major economy in the world to do so.
Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg, and Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband signed the landmark Joint Climate Change Agreement on February 14, 2015.
This agreement also echoes the pronounced commitment of the British government to enter a global climate deal in Paris this December.
Without a doubt, 2015 is fast becoming a crucial year for major climate change initiatives. Earlier, China, India, and the United States have also announced their respective commitments to gear away from so-called “dirty” energy.
However, the recent developments in UK demonstrate a unified and solid commitment of local politicians and the government to tackle pressing issues against fossil fuels. Australia, Canada, and US are currently struggling to reach a similar consensus because of partisan politics.
“This agreement represents inspiring leadership and true statesmanship by all three men,” said Al Gore, former US vice president and a climate change activist. “The political courage it represents on all sides is exactly what our world most needs in order to solve the climate crisis.”
“I welcome this cross-leader agreement which will send signal to our partners around the world that the UK is serious about our responsibilities as stewards of the environment,” said Lord Howard of Lymph, former leader of the Conservative Power.
Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel used for power generation. In UK, coal-fired power plants account for 79% of emissions in the entire power sector, causing about 1,600 premature deaths every year.
The move to end the use of coal in power generation also signals growth prospects for the renewable energy industry. As of the last quarter of 2014, 17.8% of electricity in UK comes from renewable energy sources.