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Not Powering Past Coal: 20 countries that didn’t use much coal, agree to not use much coal

Get excited everyone — the South Pacific Island of Nuie, with a population of 1,625 people has vowed not to build a coal plant. The nation is so small it is not even a member of the UN. This champion of the move away from coal is 98% powered by diesel. Everybody Cheer!

Powering Past Coal Alliance: 20 countries sign up to phase out coal power by 2030

Twenty countries including Britain, Canada and New Zealand have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030.

The list includes none of the top 15 coal producers in the world. It’s non-binding. Nearly all the countries that have signed up to “Power Past Coal” are already powered by hydro, gas, nuclear or some combination of renewables (with interconnector back up). The Marshall Islands are powered by almost 100% diesel, with a hint of coconut oil. Luxembourg barely even generates electricity — importing 98% from other countries. And 68% of the people in Angola don’t even have access to electricity. It shouldn’t be too hard to get to fifty countries to sign this if they offer a free conference dinner to half the South Pacific, Central America and darkest Africa.

Is anybody fooled by this?

“I think we can safely say that the response has been overwhelming,” Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said.

The only nation which might feel pain here is Canada, the twelfth largest coal producer in the world. Since it’s also the second largest hydropower producer and has relatively cheap electricity, there is some room for virtue signaling. Besides, half of Canadian coal production is exported to countries that aren’t cutting coal use, and Canadian coal production just hit a 30 year low.

The alliance appears to be a thinly veiled critical response to the current administration of Mr Trump.

Rather, the alliance appears to be thinly veiled, full stop.

Nuclear power countries


Wind powered

  • Denmark 47% wind, hydro and solar, and 30% coal and seven interconnector transmission lines to the rest of Europe.


  • Mexico — Oil & gas, provide 70% of the electricity. Hydro 18% and Coal is just 7%
  • Netherlands – Gas 67%, coal 15%
  • Italy — 61% powered by gas, 21% coal. Hydro is 18%. Italy gets 10% of its power from solar, and has one of Europe’s highest final electricity prices.
  • UK — Gas, 40%, Nuclear, 20%,  Only 8.6% coal
  • Portugal– 30% Hydro, 27% gas and 22% for wind and 20% for coal.


Not even a Generator of Electricity

  • Luxembourg buys its electricity from everyone around it. It has almost no production — even of renewables — importing up to 98% of its electricity.  Not surprisingly it also has the “second smallest forecast penetration of renewables EU”.

Top 15 coal producers (EIA)

  1. China
  2. United States
  3. India
  4. Australia
  5. Indonesia
  6. Russia
  7. South Africa
  8. Germany
  9. Poland
  10. Kazakhstan
  11. Colombia
  12. Canada
  13. Czech Republic
  14. Greece
  15. Turkey


Top coal consumers (EIA)


World Bank Access to Electricity

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