GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Several major coal-using nations have pledged for the first time to phase out their use of the heavily-polluting fossil fuel or to speed up existing plans to do so, while others announced commitments to end investment in new coal-fired power plants.

Kwasi Kwarteng (UK business secretary) said Wednesday evening that the promises made in the margins of the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, meant the “end of coal is in sight.” But critics noted the several major economies still have not set a date for ending their dependence on the fuel that is a major source of planet-warming emissions.

According to the British government, pledges by countries such as Chile, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Poland for new deadlines or earlier ones in ending coal consumption were made. Thursday’s conference was known as COP26. Further information about the countries involved in these pledges were expected to be released.

While Kwarteng called the agreements a “milestone moment in our global efforts to tackle climate change,” his counterpart in the opposition Labour Party’s said there were “glaring gaps” such as the lack of commitment from large emitters to stop increasing coal domestically.

Labour’s business spokesman Ed Miliband also noted that there were no new commitments on phasing out of oil and gas, the other major fossil fuels, he said.

While there are existing targets to reduce global warming, countries must stop using coal. However, many large economies, including Japan, China and India, have not set any formal deadlines.

However, experts believe the increasing momentum towards abandoning coal is evident in the announcements made at the Oct. 31-Nov.12 summit.

“Today’s commitments will help to shift whole continents on their journey to phase out coal,” said Dave Jones of the energy think tank Ember.

Poland is Europe’s second largest coal user after Germany. The country is scheduled to get rid of it as soon as 2030. Although the Polish government did not have any coal, previously agreed to end coal use by 2049The new pledge would push this deadline by at most a decade.

The third largest coal buyer in Europe is Ukraine. It has also moved forward its coal deadline from 2050-2035.

“The progress on coal being shown at COP26 demonstrates that the conditions are ripe for a global coal exit,” said Leo Roberts, a senior researcher at the environmental think tank E3G.

“We now need to see the incoming massive scale-up in clean energy finance made available quickly to ensure all countries can confidently move from coal to clean,” he added.

But some environmental activists said the commitments didn’t go far enough.

“Emissions from oil and gas already far outstrip coal and are booming, while coal is already entering a terminal decline,” said Murray Worthy of the campaign group Global Witness. “This is a small step forwards when what was needed was a giant leap.”

These coal agreements are not included in the U.N. negotiations in Glasgow. Boris Johnson (British Prime Minister), who is the host of this conference had stated that he would like to see coal and cars deals. treesAnd cash

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Hui contributed to this article from London.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the climate conference at http://apnews.com/hub/climate

Source: HuffPost.com.

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