German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanual Macron at a meeting of the EU Council (Photo: EU Council)

European Union support underscores the growing political prominence of the fight against global warming.

What Happened?

Eight of the European Union’s 28 countries have committed to phasing out coal for electricity production by 2030 to tackle climate change.

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, accepted the pledges as contributions to the bloc’s efforts to deliver on the Paris Agreement.

Why it matters

“More and more member states are making the political commitment to phase out coal in the next decade,” European Union (EU) climate and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said.

Canete said that among the European Union countries introducing or confirming such timelines, France intends to phase out coal by 2022 — before Italy and Ireland by 2025.

Coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel and phasing it out is a key step to achieve the emissions reductions needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C, as enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

Most emissions from coal are in the electricity sector and, as we already have the technologies that can replace coal, phase out is a relatively cheap and easy option to reduce emissions.

Referring to coal plants, Canete said it is “pretty clear” that fossil fuels have no place in a carbon-neutral economy the commission hopes EU countries endorse for 2050.

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