Phaseout of coal power far too slow to avoid ‘climate chaos’, report finds

To reach the targets of the Paris Agreement, the world must stop constructing new plants and close existing ones at a rate that is almost five times the current rate.

According to a report, in order to achieve the goals of the Paris climate agreement, the world must stop building new coal power plants and shut down existing ones at a rate that is approximately five times higher than it is now doing.

According to the San Francisco-based NGO Global Energy Monitor, not enough is being done to prevent “climate chaos,” and China’s intentions to significantly increase the number of coal-fired power plants will necessitate even more drastic cuts to the rest of the world’s fleet.

All coal-fired plants must be shut down by 2040, and no new ones are allowed to be built, in order to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement.

The developed economies are anticipated to shut down their facilities ten years before the global phaseout. As a result, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s member nations would need to shut down 60 gigawatts of coal power capacity annually until 2030, which is roughly four and a half times what was done in the previous year. From now until 2040, 91 GW of coal generating capacity will need to be shut down annually in non-OECD nations.

According to the global survey, the phaseout has slowed compared to prior years even though the overall capacity of coal plants that are now operational or those are planned to open outside of China decreased last year.

With plans to build enough new plants to more than match the capacity decommissioned across the US and the EU combined last year, China is likewise getting ready to dramatically increase its use of coal.

Lead author of the research and project manager for Global Energy Monitor’s global coal plant tracker Flora Champenois stated, “At this rate, the transition away from existing and new coal isn’t happening fast enough to avoid climate chaos.”

“The future cuts and commitments must be more drastic the more new coal projects come online.”

The existing fleet increased globally by 19.5GW last year, with more than half of that growth taking place in China. The nation also has plans to add another 126GW to its coal power capacity, dwarfing use cuts made in emerging nations.

With the closure of 13.5 GW of capacity in coal power last year, the US took the lead globally. Closures in the EU decreased from 14.6 GW in 2021 to 2.2 GW in 2022 as a result of the bloc’s reaction to the war in Ukraine raising the cost of gas-fired power generation.

Despite the gas shortage that rocked the world’s energy markets in 2022, progress in retiring coal power plants in developed nations and abandoning new coal power projects in developing nations is encouraging, according to Lauri Myllyvirta, the head analyst for the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, a think tank.

“Investments in clean energy dominated the reaction to the energy crisis outside of China. However, such development must be immediately hastened. China took a different tack, substantially boosting planned coal power capacity, demonstrating the need to implement clean solutions and improve the implementation of current regulations that should limit the development of new coal power projects, she continued.

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