Twenty countries and two U.S. states have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030. But, as Ciara Lee reports it comes as Poland awaits a coal shipment from the U.S., and a number of top coal burning countries fail to sign up to the alliance.
Poland's state coal trader Weglokoks is awaiting an important delivery... of coal. It's due to receive its first ever shipment from the U.S. And industry sources say it's unlikely to be the last. With both countries led by fossil fuel advocates, the benefits are mutual. U.S. miners are relying on export growth. While Poland has to meet a shortfall left by the failure of national mining giant PGG to achieve its production targets, (SOUNDBITE) (Polish) PRESIDENT OF POLISH COAL MERCHANTS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND COAL DEPOT OWNER, LUKASZ CHORBACZ SAYING: "There are still depots which have problems with stock replenishment. But it seems to me that the critical part of the problem has been resolved and the situation has begun to clear." Until now only private importers have bought coal cargoes from the U.S. But this purchase proves there's still demand for coal at a time when many countries are pushing to phase it out. During talks on implementing the 2015 Paris climate agreement a new alliance has been created. The Powering Past Coal Alliance plans coal-free power by 2030 by sharing technology to reduce emissions. Twenty countries plus two U.S. states have signed up including Canada, Britain, France and Italy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTER, CATHERINE MCKENNA, SAYING: "Coal is literally choking out cities and our people. Not only is there a human cost, there is also a huge economic cost totalling billions of dollars a year." (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH ENVIRONMENT MINISTER, CLAIRE PERRY, SAYING: "So it feels like a very important tipping point to be bold and ambitious and I think this alliance is exactly that. But some of the world's biggest coal users haven't joined. Including China, India and Russia, along with summit host Germany and the rest of the U.S.