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So much for all the promises. Coal is back in fashion


So much for all the promises. Coal is back in fashion

Ukraine war has derailed plan to ditch coal after governments championed global cuts at COP26

Rachel Morison and Jess Shankleman

When the COP26 climate talks concluded in November, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared the world had reached a point of no return in phasing out coal. At the same time, Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba warned Europe that Russia was amassing forces near its border.

Those seemingly unrelated proclamations in Glasgow and Kyiv have become entwined seven months later, as Russia’s war on Ukraine forces countries to make up for limited gas supplies. The UK now aims to keep a reserve of coal-fired plants available this winter rather than shutting almost all of them over the next three months as planned.

Efforts to get rid of dirty power are being slowed as the war hits European economies, with soaring gas and electricity prices stoking inflation and raising the spectre of recession. While peers such as Germany are also rethinking coal ahead of this winter, the change of tack by the UK in particular highlights how energy security has turned into the top political priority in such a short time for a government that was so zealous at COP26...

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