Monday, April 11, 2016

More EU Countries Are Giving Coal the Boot

© Guerito 2005
© Guerito 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Taylor Hill, Take Part: 

Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife Bio

The final lumps of coal were burned last week at the last remaining coal-fired power plant in Belgium, signaling an end to the coal power era in yet another European country.

Just last month, Scotland’s 115-year-long dependence on the dirty, carbon emission-spewing power source came to an end as the Longannet Power Station - once the largest coal plant in Europe - was switched off on March 24.

With plants idled all over the continent, now more than a quarter of European Union nations have quit coal, with Belgium and Scotland’s shutdowns bringing them in line with coal power-free countries Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. They will be joined by larger EU nations come 2025, when Portugal, Austria, Finland, and the rest of the U.K. have promised to rid their power grids of one of the dirtiest forms of energy production.

While fossil fuels such as natural gas are still part of these nations’ energy equations, clean renewable power from wind and solar farms is meeting record levels of their electricity needs.

“Belgium going coal free is yet another proof that the golden days of the coal industry are over,” Joanna Flisowska, policy coordinator at Climate Action Network Europe, said in a statement. “This is good news for the climate. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the EU has to ensure that carbon emissions from its coal power plants are cut down much faster than their current rate.”

Now, for the first time, the argument for cutting carbon emissions in favor of the environment - but at the expense of economic growth - isn’t holding up.

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