• Loading

COP 22: clean energy, not coal, crucial in poverty fight say development, environment & faith groups

10 November 2016

  • Statement shows that coal industry claims that more coal is needed to end poverty is hot air 

  • High level talks at COP 22 offers opportunity to scale up poverty-busting renewables 

  • Visual campaign stunt taking place at COP 22 at 10am today 

As nations meet in Marrakesh, Morocco to plot the global response to climate change, more than 120 organisations, including faith groups, southern movements and anti-poverty charities, have called for an end for all forms of public support for coal expansion and the world’s wealthiest economies to renounce coal totally.  

Organisations including CAFOD, the Overseas Development Institute, WWF and Christian Aid have said that as the number one source of fossil fuel emissions, more coal burning will only fuel poverty around the world. Instead, the group has said if nations are serious about alleviating poverty and improving the prosperity of the world’s poor then expanding renewable energy is vital.
Dr Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s Principal Climate Advisor, said: “The coal industry likes to claim it is ‘God’s gift’ to the poor, when actually the opposite is true.  Extreme poverty will only be eradicated if we effectively address climate change, the two are inseparable. But thankfully their solutions also converge.  

"Expanding clean, home grown renewable energy to the world’s poorest and most remote people will have a transformative effect and deliver sustainable poverty eradication – something coal cannot do.”
The statement, based on findings set out in a report Beyond coal: scaling up clean energy to fight global poverty, will be discussed at a side event at the COP 22 climate summit in Marrakesh today (4.45pm, Pacific room in the observer area). 

The panel will feature Benson Ireri from Christian Aid in Africa, Alejandro Aleman Treminio, Centro Humboldt, Nicaragua and Wanun Permpibul, Director, Climate Watch Thailand and will be chaired by Leo Hickman, editor of Carbon Brief.
Dr Doig added: “Countries need to deliver the Paris Agreement’s long term goal for the world to achieve zero carbon economies by mid-century. To achieve this, countries must ramp up action before 2020, something which will be discussed next week in Marrakesh by ministers.”
The statement also calls for all forms of fossil fuel subsidies to be scrapped by G20 Governments and for development institutions to ensure the majority of their energy investments directly deliver energy to poor communities currently off the electricity grid.
A visual campaign stunt demonstrating the urgent need to shift finance out of fossil fuels and into renewable energy will take place between 10am and 10.30am outside the restaurant in the Blue Zone at COP 22. 

For interview requests or more information contactjware@christian-aid.orgor text him on +447870944485.

Christian Aid’s COP 22 Briefing Paper: Moving Forward from Paris can be accessed here

Notes to editors: 

1. In September Christian Aid announced that 3,500 churches had ditched fossil fuels and signed up for renewable electricity.  Many of these have come through the Big Church Switch scheme supported by the Church of England.  For more information visit www.bigchurchswitch.org.uk.

2. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

3. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

4. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

5. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

6. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

Press office

Want to speak to Christian Aid's press office? Here’s who to contact.

Contact details


Clarifications, corrections and statements from Christian Aid.

Latest response

Christian Aid blog

Latest news and views from staff and partners around the world.

Latest blog