The tone at the UN’s annual climate change meeting – taking place this year in Marrakech in Morocco – appears to be one of defiance, both at Trump’s election and, it seems, at coal. One of the keynote speakers, France’s President Hollande, has just stood before the delegates to announce that the Republic will shut down all its coal-fired power plants no later than 2023. At the same time, he praised Obama and snubbed Trump, much to the approval of the crowd.
“The role played by Barack Obama was crucial in achieving the Paris agreement,” he said, adding that it is “irreversible”. He went on to add, as per the groundbreaking pact, that “we need carbon neutrality by 2050,” and for France’s part, coal will not form part of their energy mix in six to seven years’ time.
This is welcome news that comes alongside a host of hopeful statements from other nations. With or without America’s help, all other current signatories to the climate pact will stick to their pledges. Germany hopes to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 95 percent by 2050, and the UK is due to shut all its coal-fired power plants by 2025.
France is already a world leader when it comes to a low-carbon energy mix. Investing heavily in nuclear power a few decades back, the country now gets more than 75 percent of its electricity from the wonders of nuclear fission. It produces so much energy, in fact, that it exports much of it to nearby nations to the annual tune of $3.2 billion.
Make no mistake – Trump and his legion of doom cronies are a very real threat to the environment. Apart from the fact that they deny climate change actually exists, they are also quite big fans of coal.
Burning coal is phenomenally bad for not just the environment, but for your health and the climate. In fact, nothing produces more carbon dioxide and toxic particulates per gram than burning coal. It’s literally the worst.
Fortunately, global use of coal is dropping quite rapidly for a variety of reasons, including the fact that renewable energy is getting cheaper and more commonplace, and that the damage coal is doing to the world is becoming too much of a burden to bear, both economically and environmentally.
Developing countries like India are still taking advantage of how cheap it is, but it will not be long before most of the world finds that cleaner energy is the way forwards. France, in this respect, is a snapshot of the future, regardless of what happens under the future Trump administration – one where coal is left in the ground, where it belongs.