By Vishal Gulati
Katowice (Poland), Dec 13 (IANS) The World Bank, Canada and Britain on Thursday announced financial, technical and advisory support for developing countries that have decided to transition from coal and accelerate the uptake of cleaner sources of energy.
The Canadian government pledged up to CAD$275 million to fund the Energy Transition and Coal Phase-Out Programme. This funding will help developing countries in Asia to slow coal production, while scaling up energy efficiency and low-carbon energy alternatives.
At the same time, the British government pledged 20 million pounds to the World Bank's Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), a global knowledge and technical assistance programme administered by the World Bank to help low and middle-income countries implement environmentally sustainable energy solutions.
Both these programmes will support the deployment of solar and battery storage, geothermal and offshore wind development, coal plant closure, and improvement in energy efficiency, particularly in buildings and cooling.
With the new financial support from Canada and Britain, the World Bank will also expand its work to help countries that have made the decision to transition away from coal close mines and address the resulting socioeconomic impacts on workers and communities.
This means taking steps to protect jobs and skills and preserve the environment, including through strong social safety nets for coal mine workers and the reclamation and re-purposing of coal mine areas.
In conjunction with the UN climate summit named COP24 in this Polish city, the World Bank is launching a new report "Managing Coal Mine Closure: Achieving a Just Transition for All," which outlines the lessons learned from coal mine closures to date, and key steps governments can take to minimise social conflict and economic distress.
The report shows the socio-economic impact of coal mine closures are significant, with some coal-dependent regions continuing to lag socially and economically.
"Our focus is on the human dimension and helping countries accelerate the energy transition," Senior Director and Head of the Energy and Extractives Global Practice at the World Bank, Riccardo Puliti said.
Batting to phase out coal, Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna said the pollution from coal has major repercussions on climate change, health and people.
Claire Perry, Britain's Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, said: "The UK and Canada have truly led the world in powering past coal, with the UK going more than 1,700 hours without coal this year."
This World Bank fund, backed by 20 million pounds from the British government, will allow world-leading expertise to be shared globally to encourage developing countries to move away from coal power and embrace renewable energy, helping them to save the planet while giving their economies a vital boost.
(Vishal Gulati is in Katowice at the invitation of Climate Trends to cover the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP24. He can be contacted at email@example.com)
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