John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate, predicted the world’s biggest economy will stop burning coal by the end of the decade.
“By 2030 in the United States, we won’t have coal,” Kerry said Tuesday during an interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait, at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. “We will not have coal plants.”
The U.S. has a long way to go to become coal free. President Joe Biden’s most ambitious efforts to wean the nation from fossil fuels through a $1.75 trillion spending bill have been thwarted by opposition from Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from coal-rich West Virginia. Manchin holds a key swing vote in the Senate and has pushed to remove provisions hostile to coal.
The U.S. gets nearly 25% of its electricity from the fuel, and many of the nation’s largest power companies don’t plan to phase out their emissions from fossil fuels until 2050.
The shift away from coal will be driven in part by market forces that are making natural gas and renewables more cost-effective power sources than the dirtiest fossil fuel. Those trends are getting a boost from President Joe Biden’s plan to eliminate carbon emissions from the U.S. power grid by 2035.
“We’re saying we are going to be carbon free in the power sector by 2035,” Kerry said. “I think that’s leadership. I think that’s indicative of what we can do.”