Given how bad climate change already is for our health, how quickly we need to decarbonize, and how much the damage from fossil fuels is costing us, it’s utterly crazy to think that governments are still subsidizing coal to the extent that they do.
The good news, coming to us via Frédéric Simon over at Climate Home News, is that the European Union just agreed to phase out almost all coal subsidies by 2025 at the latest.
There is, however, one fairly significant caveat: Poland, the most coal dependent of member states, will be allowed to grandfather in contracts made before the end of December 2019. While hardly ideal, it seems this particular clause was necessary to prevent Poland from holding out and collapsing the deal altogether.
The really good news is that deals like this don’t exist in a vacuum. A significant percentage of coal plants are losing money already, and the vast majority will be in the near future—even without deals like the one just announced.
This deal isn’t enough to avert climate crisis. But it’s one of the steps that needs to happen to get us there.