Christian Aid urges UK to make the Big Switch away from fossil fuels

by Search Gate staff. Published Mon 14 Sep 2015 16:01
Calls for Government to stop funding for coal
Calls for Government to stop funding for coal

Christian Aid has launched its Big Shift campaign aimed at persuading the UK Government and industry to move away from the use of fossil fuels, particularly coal – the dirtiest fuel of all.

Its first move is an appeal to the UK government to end the underwriting of coal industry sales abroad by way of Export Credit Guarantees, which insure exports such as mining equipment and coal-fired power plant machinery against non-payment by foreign customers.

The charity wants the UK government to press at an OECD meeting on Thursday for all member countries to end such protection for exports linked to fossil fuels.

Christian Aid has asked its supporters to write to Secretary of State for Business, Sajid Javid, to end the practice of using taxpayer’s money to support the UK coal industry in such a manner.

Dr Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s Principal Advisor on Climate Change, said: “Like floppy discs, three wheeled cars and dial up internet, coal should be consigned to the past. The Prime Minister recognised this when he pledged to phase out coal power from the UK.

“This week his Business Secretary Sajid Javid has an opportunity to back up that pledge by publicly demanding an international shift to end the use of public money to prop up the coal industry. He’d be in good company: Barack Obama has already agreed to end support and just last week France did the same.

“In November 2013 the coalition government announced it would stop UK government international support to coal power, but at that point this excluded export credit guarantees. We now have an opportunity to put this right.”

Dr Doig added: “As countries prepare for the UN climate summit taking place in Paris later this year it is important the UK washes its hands of supporting the coal industry if it is going to be a credible leader on the global stage come December.”

A report from the UK Met Office this week says the world has reached a turning point, and record-breaking global temperatures are expected this year and next. The pause in rising air temperatures is over, it says, and global warming is set to accelerate fast.

Last Thursday, France re-affirmed its commitment to end export credits for coal power plants, except with operational carbon capture and storage. It joins the USA which has taken similar unilateral action.

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