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South Africa Hails Deal to End Reliance on Coal

The US, UK, France, Germany and European Union will help fund South Africa’s transition away from coal, in a multilateral effort that could serve as a model for other developing nations to ditch the fossil fuel. The announcement on Tuesday provided a semblance of hope at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, where the mood has been low after the G20 leaders’ summit failed to put an end date on the use of coal, as some member countries and the COP26 presidency had sought to do. Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the UK said the initial $8.5 billion partnership would help South Africa to decarbonize its coal intensive energy system. The details of the specific funding were not announced, and diplomats expect the fine print to be worked out in the months ahead. US President Joe Biden stressed that trillions in public and private funding will be needed to help the developing world move away from fossil fuels. Climate scientists and some diplomats say the South Africa agreement could pave the way for similar deals with other heavily-polluting developing countries — a critical step in containing global warming and avoiding a full-blown climate catastrophe.