Image: Petar Milošević via Wikimedia Commons
A new report has found that since the 2015 signing of the Paris agreement, more than 75% of the world’s planned coal plant projects have been scrapped, and 44 countries have no future coal plans whatsoever. The report’s authors hope this trend will continue as the COP26 conference in Glasgow approaches, but the world’s coal-free future depends on a few holdout countries, including China.
Why This Matters: Reaching the goals of the Paris agreement and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius will require the world to make a rapid shift away from coal. The UN reported that coal use must decline by 79% from 2019 levels by the end of this decade to avoid catastrophic temperature rise. Still, 31 countries, including some of the world’s largest emitters, have coal projects planned for the future, and it’s throwing a wrench in international cooperation that has many diplomats worried for November.
Coal by the Wayside
So far, 40 countries have signed a “no new coal” commitment to reduce global emissions. “Only five years ago, there were so many new coal power plants planned to be built, but most of these have now been either officially halted or are paused and unlikely to ever be built,” said Dave Jones from Ember, one of the groups behind the study. “Multiple countries can add their voices to a snowball of public commitments to ‘no new coal,’ collectively delivering a key milestone to sealing coal’s fate.” 09-15-21