Coal plant closures becoming the new normal for Europe?

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The downward spiral for Europe’s coal industry continued this week, with Belgium becoming the latest country to rid itself of the dirty energy source. With the closure of the country’s last coal-fired power station, Langerlo, on 30 March, the once coal-dependant Belgium is hot-on-the-heels of Scotland’s abandonment of coal, becoming the seventh EU nation to kick the dirty habit. With a heavy nuclear dependency and proposals to converting Langerlo into a biomass-plant, the spotlight is now on the country to support its bustling renewables industry. From China to the US, countries are increasingly moving to phase-out coal, leaving those clinging to it at a disadvantage both economically and politically. Australia, for example, continues to pursue new mines at drastic cost to taxpayers, while Poland, Turkey and Japan look to burn even more coal, risking growing international condemnation, and facing years of dealing with the inevitable damage to their economy, health and communities.

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  • “Ending coal power use in Belgium marks a significant step in the inevitable transition away from fossil fuels. Belgium going coal free is yet another proof that golden days of the coal industry are over. Hard times for the coal industry will get a lot tougher yet, as many more countries are phasing out coal. This is good news for the climate. To avoid worst impacts of climate change, the EU has to ensure that carbon emissions from its coal power plants are cut down much faster than their current rate.” – Joanna Flisowska of CAN Europe

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