COP25: The environmental NGO platform “A Future Without Coal” (UFSC) reminds companies, banks and government to fulfil their commitments to end coal

The Spanish organizations belonging to the European platform Europe Beyond Coal (EBC) want to remind, on the occasion of the COP25 in Madrid, that there is still much to be done to achieve a coal phase-out in Spain. The lack of transparency in the closure processes has been denounced by UNFS, and a just transition is being requested, taking into account not only the workers of the coal companies but the regional economy & industry as a whole, requiring a drastic transformation for the coal regions. In addition, they ask the country presiding the COP25, Chile, to close its coal-fired power plants by 2030 at the latest.

-Government: Despite the progress shown by the new government on energy transition issues  and the fight against climate change, especially since the creation of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, the UFSC platform calls for more ambition. There is still no stable legal framework to guarantee a just energy transition where coal is replaced by renewable energies no later than 2025. The Ministry must also accelerate the authorization of coal plant closures while ensuring a just transition for the coal regions.

-Banks and the financial sector: NGOs call on the Spanish financial sector and banks to be consistent with their climate commitments and to stop financing coal in other countries. According to the report “Fool’s Gold” published by Europe Beyond Coal last May, Banco Santander, sponsor of COP25, is second in the list of those who granted more money in Europe to the most polluting energy companies, mainly in Poland: 2,990 million euros in loans and subscription services.

-Electricity companies: Naturgy, Endesa, Iberdrola, EDP and Viesgo are the companies that own the coal plants on the Spanish peninsula. Despite the fact that requests have already been submitted for the closure of various plants, there are still plants that are expected to remain open without an announced closure date, as is the case of Soto de Ribera, Aboño II and Los Barrios, the first two owned by EDP and the last one by Viesgo. These three plants have undertaken works to adapt to the new limits of European regulations (Bref- IED), which come into force in July 2020. The UFSC platform calls on companies to request closures for these plants to ensure that they close by 2025 at the latest. It also asks Endesa to submit, as soon as possible, the closure requests for As Pontes and Litoral, guaranteeing a just transition for the regions and people affected by these closures.

“A coal phase-out is being taken for granted in Spain, but the truth is that there is still much to do. There are still 14 power plants in Spain that must close. Although some have already submitted the closure requests, the closures must be authorized by the government. In addition, Spanish financial institutions are financing coal in other countries. The impact of coal pollution on health and the planet is enormous. A coal plant in any European country threatens the health of the population throughout Europe, due to cross-border pollution, and of the entire planet because this fossil fuel is one of the major contributors to climate change”

In addition to CO2, coal-fired power plants emit SO2, NOx and particles, polluting substances that cause serious impacts on health and the environment. In order to comply with the goals of the Paris Agreement, all countries must increase their ambition concerning the emission reduction targets. The abandonment of coal by 2030 in the European Union and OECD countries and in 2040 at a global level is an imperative to achieve a scenario that does not exceed 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels.

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