UK and Canada look to lead fight against coal at COP23 climate change talks

Kirill Kukhmar | TASS | Getty Images

The U.K. and Canada have launched a global alliance committed to moving the planet away from burning coal and towards cleaner sources of power.

The British government said Thursday, in an announcement at the COP23 climate change talks in Bonn, Germany, that the Powering Past Coal Alliance's ambition was to "lead the rest of the world in committing to an end to unabated coal power."

Unabated coal refers to the production of electricity from a coal plant without using treatments to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

"Reducing global coal consumption should be a vital and urgent priority for all countries and states," Claire Perry, the U.K.'s minister for climate change and industry, said in a statement. "Unabated coal is the dirtiest, most polluting way of generating electricity."

Perry said that the U.K. was committed to phasing out unabated coal-fire power generation "no later than 2025," and hoped to inspire others to follow suit.

Alongside the U.K. and Canada, founding partners of the alliance include Mexico, France, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Costa Rica and Fiji. China and the U.S. are not in the alliance, although it is hoped that the number of members will reach "50 or more" by this time next year.

"Coal is literally choking our cities, with close to a million people dying every year from coal pollution," Catherine McKenna, Canada's minister of environment and climate change, said. "I'm thrilled to see so much global momentum for the transition to clean energy — and this is only the beginning."