FILE - In this April 3, 2014 file photo giant machines dig for brown coal at the open-cast mining Garzweiler in front of a power plant near the city of Grevenbroich in western Germany. World leaders arrive at the global climate talks in Germany on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 to give the negotiations a boost going into the final stretch.. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
INTERNATIONAL - Twenty countries and two US states have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030, environment ministers said yesterday.

Since signing the Paris Agreement in 2015, which aims to wean the world off fossil fuels, several countries have made national plans to phase out coal from their power supply mix.

The Powering Past Coal alliance brings together many of these countries and others that will commit to phasing out coal, sharing technology to reduce emissions, such as carbon capture and storage, and encouraging the rest of the world to cut usage. Coal is responsible for more than 40percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide.

A brown coal power plant photographed in morning fog near Hoeningen, Germany, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)

The alliance includes Angola, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Portugal and Switzerland, ministers said.

The US states of Washington and Oregon, as well as five Canadian provinces, have also signed up.

The alliance, which is not legally binding, aims to have at least 50 members by the next UN climate summit in 2018 to be held in Poland’s Katowice, one of Europe’s most polluted cities.

“To meet the Paris Agreement target of staying below 2°C, we need to phase out coal,” Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna told a news conference to launch the alliance initiative.

Greenpeace activists project the writing "Coal destroys our future" on the cooling tower of the lignite power plant Neurath near Grevenbroich, western Germany, Friday morning, Nov. 10, 2017 during the global climate meeting in nearby Bonn. (Oliver Berg/dpa via AP)

“There is also an immediate urgency - coal is literally choking and killing our people. The market has moved, the world has moved. Coal is not coming back,” she added.

But some of the world’s biggest coal users, such as China, India, the US, Germany and Russia, have not joined. The pace of Germany’s exit from coal power has dominated talks in Berlin this week on forming a new German government.

The Powering Past Coal launch comes just days after US administration officials, along with energy company representatives, led a side event at the talks to promote “fossil fuels and nuclear power in climate mitigation”.

FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2017 file photo traffic crowds a road in Moscow, Russia after a sunset as smoke billows from a power plant in background. The COP 23 Fiji UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, is scheduled to end Friday, Nov. 17 and aims at producing draft rules for implementing the Paris accord. . (AP Photo/Pavel Glolovkin, file)

The event triggered a peaceful protest by anti-coal demonstrators and jarred with many ministers who are working on a rule book for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to move the world economy off fossil fuels. 

- REUTERS