A group of countries, including the UK, Chile, Sri Lanka, Denmark, France, Germany and Montenegro, has announced an initiative to encourage other nations to halt their construction of coal-fired power plants.

The No New Coal Power Compact aims to keep the Paris Climate Accord’s 1.5°C global warming target ‘within reach’ and achieve the seventh Sustainable Development Goal of providing affordable and clean energy.

Countries joining the scheme will need to stop approving and building unabated coal-fired power generation projects by the end of the year.

The seven founding nations are urging all other governments to join the No New Coal Power Compact ahead of the UN Climate Summit COP26 to help deliver on the summit’s goal to ‘consign coal power to history’.

COP26 president-designate and former UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “I am delighted that the UK is partnering with a diverse group of countries that are showing bold leadership to cancel coal through the No New Coal Power Compact, demonstrating the positive impact that countries working closely together can have in generating climate action.

“The cost of clean renewable technologies continues to fall, making coal expensive and uncompetitive.

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“I call on more countries to come forward and sign up to this compact ahead of COP26, and play their part to limit global warming and keep 1.5°C alive.”

Countries that have so far cancelled their coal projects include Denmark, France, Germany, Montenegro and the UK.

These countries are currently focused on expediting the retirement of their remaining coal power generation.

Danish Climate, Energy and Utilities Minister Dan Jørgensen said: “This energy compact is an important step on the way for a complete phase-out of coal power and consigning coal power to history at COP26.

“I encourage all governments to join this very important initiative.”

Last July, the Japanese Government reportedly planned to stop offering financial support for the construction of overseas coal-fired power plants after facing criticism over its support for fossil fuel.