Chile’s coal-plant phaseout rapped as too gradual


President Sebastián Piñera, fourth from left among those standing, with power company executives and government officials at June 4 announcement of coal-plant closure plan. (Photo courtesy of Chile’s Office of Presidency)

Six months before his country is scheduled to host the world’s next climate summit, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera on June 4 announced a plan under which Chile will close all 28 of its coal-fired power plants by 2040. Piñera, speaking at a ceremony in Santiago to mark the occasion, portrayed the decision as an historic environmental advance. “The best legacy that we can leave for our children is a country that is cleaner than the one we received,” he said of the phase-out of coal plants, which currently generate 40% of Chile’s electricity and 26% of its greenhouse gases. But one day after the announcement, Piñera found himself fending off criticism from environmentalists, social-welfare activists, academics and lawmakers that given Chile’s strong advances in renewable power over the past decade, the plants should be shut down far sooner. “We would like to do it earlier, of course... [Log in to read more]

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