In a showing that proves how we can sustain the ability to use renewable energy on a large scale, the United Kingdom announced that they had produced 55 straight hours of electricity without burning any coal.
The United Kingdom has set a plan to witch off all coal plants by 2025 (unless they are fitted with capture technology) to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent of the 1990 levels.
A decade ago, the UK Parliament enacted the Climate Change Act that committed to reducing the nation’s carbon footprint. As a result, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) was created to ensure targets are “evidence-based and independently assessed”. Their efforts seem to have been working.
In 2017, greenhouse gas emissions fell by 3 percent as coal use dropped and renewable investments continued to climb. With more offshore wind turbines installed than any other country in Europe and the increasing solar panels to meet the energy demand, the combination of the two provided more electricity than nuclear energy for the first time in UK history.
An analysis by Carbon Brief shows the UK’s CO2 emissions fell by 5.8 percent in 2016 following a record 52 percent reduction in coal use. Figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy analyzed by the Climate Action Program show that coal now only accounts for 5.3 percent of primary energy consumption in the UK, down from 22 percent in 1995.
While Britain is proving it has the ability to sustain a nation on clean energy, President Trump and the United States are backing off of investing in clean energy and istead are making it their mission to reinvest in the coal industry to the dismay of millions. Early last year, he repealed the Obama-era Stream Protection Rule that restricted coal companies from dumping waste in streams. It seems like the rest of the world is ready to move on regardless. A coalition of more than two dozen countries – known collectively as COP23 – has joined together in a mission to phase out the use of coal and instead invest in clean power due to the negative health effects of air pollution from burning coal, like respiratory diseases and premature death.