Asia Minute: Much of the Indo-Pacific still runs on coal
One of the biggest topics at the U.N. climate conference this week is coal. More than 40 countries have agreed to phase out the burning of coal entirely, although that list does not include the United States, China, India or Australia. But in the Asia Pacific, there is other movement toward cutting the use of coal.
China and India together account for nearly two-thirds of the coal burned in the world.
About 20% of electricity in this country comes from burning coal — including a plant on Oʻahu.
For Australia, coal remains a leading export.
Japanese national broadcaster NHK quoted government officials as saying it’s important for Japan, as “a resource-poor nation surrounded by the ocean, to use various sources of energy in a balanced way.”
While none of these Indo-Pacific countries signed up to eliminate their use of coal, some regional economies have agreed to phase out coal.
That includes Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand.
As for more gradual change, India, along with Indonesia and the Philippines is joining the “Accelerating Coal Transition” program — which involves funding to transition away from the fossil fuel to cleaner alternatives.
There are other financing moves afoot — including a program by the Asian Development Bank to pick up the pace of closure for coal-fired electricity plants.
The pilot program will launch in Indonesia and the Philippines — two countries whose economies remain heavily dependent on coal — which produces more than two-thirds of the power used in Indonesia and nearly 60% of the electricity used in the Philippines.