Britain and Canada have launched a global alliance to phase out coal in defiance of US efforts at UN climate talks to promote the fossil fuel.
More than 20 countries and states, including Italy, France, Belgium and Mexico, have joined the Powering Past Coal alliance, which urges nations to speed up the move away from burning coal to cleaner power sources.
Members of the alliance are committing to action including setting targets for phasing out coal and making no further investments in coal-fired electricity in their areas or abroad. Coal is responsible for more than 40 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions. The alliance would work to expand its partners to 50 by the next U.N. climate summit in 2018 which will be held in the Polish city of Katowice.
Campaigners welcomed the move, which they said was a "rebuke" to US President Donald Trump, whose officials have tried to promote coal at this year's climate talks.
The UK has confirmed it will phase out polluting coal power by 2025. The use of coal dropped to historic lows in Britain including the first full day in April without the fossil fuel since it was first used to generate power in the 19th century.
Coal emits twice as much carbon dioxide, the key greenhouse gas driving climate change, as gas per unit of electricity, and vastly more than low-carbon technologies such wind, solar and nuclear power.
“The Powering Past Coal Alliance will signal to the world that the time of coal has passed,” said The UK’s climate change minister Claire Perry said.
Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid's international climate lead, said: “This climate meeting has seen Donald Trump trying to perversely promote coal but it will finish with the UK, Canada and a host of other countries signalling the death knell of the world's dirtiest fossil fuel in their countries.
"It is a rebuke to Donald Trump from the UK and Canada, two of America's closest allies, that his obsession for dirty energy will not spread."