The mining and burning of coal is one of the most environmentally taxing ways of producing electricity for our homes. Trees are cut down, entire mountains are destroyed, and huge amounts of pollution are released into the atmosphere. But now, Finland is taking a stand against coal.
Across the world, coal’s days are numbered. Many prominent politicians believe that those supporting renewable energy are waging a “war on coal,” but the only force at work in the war is capitalism. Coal is becoming more expensive compared to natural gas and renewable energy.
Following the ratification of the Paris agreement earlier in November, Finland declared that they would phase our all coal powered plants by 2030 at the very latest.
“Giving up coal is the only way to reach international climate goals,” Finland’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Olli Rehn, told Reuters in an interview.
Currently, 79% of Finland’s power comes from renewable energy and nuclear energy. Finland will likely achieve its coal goal well before 2030, as only 7% of its power comes from coal. Still, it’s an important step forward.
In general, Europe contributes less to the greenhouse effect with carbon dioxide emissions than almost anywhere else in the world. Finland ranks 67th in the world for most carbon pollution, roughly the same as Norway and Sweden. The three countries combined produce just 1.3% of what China does.
The writing has been on the wall about climate change for years now. That’s why we plant 10 trees for each item sold in our store. But many major countries have waited until they see an economic benefit before taking environmentally positive steps.
Public perception has played an important role in pushing countries away from polluting forms of energy production. Still, many political and business leaders are reluctant to embrace coal’s inevitable demise.
Following the November 8th election in the United States, President-Elect Donald Trump has doubled down on his promises to resurrect America’s dying coal industry.
Regardless of those efforts, coal is standing on its last leg, and Finland is ready to say goodbye to coal for good. Will Canada, the U.S., and the rest of the world follow suit? Probably. But it sounds like the U.S. will be drug kicking and screaming into a coal-free future.