Removing coal is not an easy challenge to overcome

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Thanh Nien, Bonn, Germany

Maintaining ambitions in Paris

After two weeks of intense tension, COP 23 finally reached a consensus on the ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement in France two years ago on climate change. A detailed implementation of the agreement has also been improved at COP 23. It is expected that the implementation will be released by the end of 2018 and will be the tools for reporting and monitoring the greenhouse gas emissions of each country. The document also aims to stop the use of fossil fuels in the 21st century.

“This is the biggest and most important success of COP 23," said the president of COP23, Frank Bainimarama - Prime Minister of Fiji. "The work that needs to be done is to provide concrete guidance. Implement the Paris Agreement and prepare for more ambitious activities through Talanoa dialogue in 2018. "

"The Talanaa Dialogue" in Fijian means "sharing experience" will be launched by countries in 2018 to review greenhouse gas reduction plans. Therefore, COP24 held in Poland will be a big challenge for the future of fossil fuels, including coal, one of the most important factors in the process of considering CO2 reductions in many countries.


Indiscernible reduction of CO2

In COP23, the Coalition Against the Use of Coal has formed including the participation from the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Angola, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, France, Italy, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Fiji and many other countries. A total of 25 countries, states and regions have joined the coalition with a commitment to end their use of coal for power generation by 2030 and set a target to assist workers and communities during the transition. The alliance estimates that around 800,000 people die each year worldwide due to pollution from burning coal.

According to a study published in Bonn, by switching to electricity generation could reduce the current 11 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions to about 20 gigabytes by 2035 - about 95% dropped. "A change in energy policy is no longer a technological or economic issue but a strong political commitment," said Christian Breyer of Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland. There are many good examples set such as the UK have shifted from using 40% of electricity from coal in 2012 to 2% of electricity from coal in July 2017.

In fact, some of the largest coal-consuming countries, including China (consuming half of world’s coal resource), the United States, India and Germany have not joined the coalition. They even appear to "ignore" the target of cutting down the usage of coal. For example, Germany has been reluctant to remove coal, a top energy source that produces up to 45% of their country electricity. They claimed that about 100,000 people will lose their jobs. These are also one of the the basic reasons China and America excuse.

In the world, coal is also the main energy source that produces about 40% of the electricity, but at the same time release into the environment a gigantic amount of CO2. COP23 is over, but surely, reduction of global coal usage will be still the challenging not easy to overcome. According to many experts, if the world wants to achieve its goal of curbing rising temperatures in this century, coal usage should be eliminated as soon as possible.

Three core issues of COP23

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan -Head of the Vietnamese delegation to COP23, said that the discussions at COP23 were very diversified, but there are three issues summarized as follows: detailed implementing of the Paris Agreement after 2020; efforts to respond to climate change before 2020; and lastly preparing for the global assessment effort of 2018. COP23 is also a forum for countries, international organizations to share experiences, achievements and climate change response technologies.