WALES has joined a coalition of countries setting targets for when to phase out the production of fossil fuels.

The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance has been launched by Denmark and Costa Rica and Wales has signed up alongside France, Greenland, Ireland, Sweden, and the Canadian province Quebec as founding members.

The UK Government hasn't joined the group but Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland is likely to join but complex negotiations are ongoing because of the country’s long history of fossil fuel extraction.

Traditionally there has been very little oil and gas extraction in Wales and the Welsh Government has had a 'moratorium' on fracking since 2015.

Last week Wales' deputy climate change minister Lee Waters said the UK Government should cancel the mining licence for the Aberpergwm colliery, near Glynneath.

He said the extraction of 40 million tonnes of coal, over the next 18 years shouldn't go ahead.

The mine's owners have said it provides 160 well-paid jobs in the Vale of Neath area as well as 16 apprenticeships and that it supplies specialist industries including steel production and water filtration.

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The National Union of Miners (NUM) said the colliery is vital to supplying the giant Tata Steelworks at Port Talbot, which the Welsh government has consistently supported, and without coal from Aberpergwm it would use imports from Asia and Australia.

However the government has further signalled its intent on ending use of fossil fuels by joining the alliance at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

The Welsh Government has held powers over licensing for oil and gas production on land and near the coast since 2018 and hasn't issued any new licences.

It also said in December 2018 it would not issue or support new petroleum licences.

Decision on sites further out at sea remain the responsibility of the UK Government and the Oil and Gas Authhority although there aren't thought to be any significant reserves off the Welsh coast.

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