Latin American countries take a step forwards reducing coal burning

21 countries in the world sign a pact to stop using coal by 2030

Latin American countries against coal

Leer en Español: Países latinoamericanos en contra de la quema de carbón

Mexico, Chile, El Salvador, and Costa Rica are the first four Latin American nations that sign an alliance that is fully committed to eradicate the use of coal by 2030. The group of countries is planning to produce energy through alternative sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power.

The alliance of 21 countries is the first agreeance after the environmental Summit in Bonn, Germany. The initiative is being lead by the United Kingdom, France, and Canada; the new initiative is trying to eliminate coal burning and, therefore, reduce CO2 emissions.

Within the pact, there are 17 countries from Africa, Europe, Oceania, North America, four provinces of Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario), and the state of Washington.

In total, the 21 active members are the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Angola, Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Fiji, New Zealand, Marshall Islands, and Niue.

The reduction of coal burning is vital for the compliance of the Paris Agreement. Specially when, according to the UN, 2017 registered a rise in CO2 emissions after years of reduction.

Chile, the green leader in South America

The decision of the country makes it the most environmental friendly nation in the region, as well as the leader in said topic within Latin America.

According to the Energy Ministry of Chile, the majority of the electricity of the country is produced in thermoelectric plants. These plants produce ,energy with coal, natural gas, biomasa and oil derivatives. However, the Government assured that "just some of the plants use coal as unique element (...) the use of coal only represents 10% of in the system".

Key participants seem to be absent

The US, China, India, Russia, and Germany didn't sign the pact. These 5 countries are considered some of the most important economies and are the main producers of CO2 emissions due to coal burning.

The United States absenteeism is consistent with the ideological view of its president. For example, the US government is willing to leave the Paris Agreement, unless they can renegotiate the goals of the country. However, the presence of the state of Washington opens up the option for many other parts of the North American superpower to adhere the pact without having to consult the federal government.

The inclusion of China, Russia, and India could be difficult if they don't see the US as an active member of the pact. However, the current situation that India is suffering due to the pollution of its capital, New Delhi, may influence their decision in the next COP meeting in Poland.

Meanwhile, Germany took a controversial decision. The European country is known as an environmental friendly nation. Meanwhile, despite the country being recognized as a world leader in renewable energies, it still depends on coal; 40% of their energy is produced by coal burning.


Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto