Underscoring the vagueness of the pledge, Anna Moskwa, Poland’s climate and environmental minister, said on TwitterThursday’s deal allowed Poland, by 2049, to leave coal. Poland currently derives 70% of its electricity via coal and has long resisted European efforts to move more quickly away from fossil fuels.
The Biden administration did join an agreement on Thursday to end financing for “unabated” oil, gas and coal in other countries by the end of next year. Unabated is a term that refers to power stations that burn fossil fuels and release the pollution directly into our atmosphere without trying to capture it.
This agreement is expected to significantly reduce fossil fuel dependence in public financing from multilateral development funds such as the World Bank. The 25 parties to the pact, which includes Canada, Italy, and Denmark, have pledged to support low- and zero-carbon energy such as solar, wind, and geothermal.
The decision to stop financing overseas fossil fuel development, paired with investments in green energy, is “really significant,” said Rachel Kyte of the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
“If we were just saying no to brown energy, then the political tensions between developing countries and developed countries would just escalate,” she said.
Republicans in the United States criticized the Biden administration’s pledge to end oil, gas and coal financing — noting the absence from the agreements of China, Japan and South Korea, some of the world’s biggest backers of foreign oil and gas projects.
“This agreement opens the door for China & Russia to fund the same production, but with their nonexistent environmental standards,” Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, wrote on Twitter. “Patting yourself on the back and pretending to make a difference does nothing if it only leads to higher global emissions.”