76% drop in new projects brings world closer to making coal ‘fuel of the past’: Report

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on September 14, 2021

‘Action by just six countries — including India — could remove 82 per cent of the remaining global pipeline’

A recent report on new coal projects finds a 76 per cent reduction in proposed coal power globally since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, signalling the imminent end of new coal construction.

This leaves 44 countries without a pre-construction pipeline, and able to commit to ‘no new coal’, joining 40 other countries that have made this commitment since 2015.

They are in a position to respond to UN Secretary General António Guterres’ call for ‘no new coal by 2021’.

India needs to relook at 27 GW of permitted coal-fired plants

The report finds that action by just six countries could remove 82 per cent of the remaining global pipeline. China alone accounts for 55 per cent of the global total, followed by India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey, and Bangladesh.

Governments can respond to these positive trends by committing to ‘no new coal’ ahead of UN climate talks COP26 in Glasgow this November.

Coal India ramps up supplies to meet rise in demand since July

If China follows East Asian neighbours Japan and South Korea in ending overseas coal finance, it would facilitate the cancellation of over 40GW of projects across 20 countries.

Coal is the single largest contributor to climate change. According to a recent UN report (IPCC SR1.5), the use of coal needs to fall 79 per cent by 2030 on 2019 levels to meet the pledges countries signed up to in the Paris Agreement.

The report has been released ahead of the UN General Assembly and the High-Level Dialogue on Energy, where countries will advance their individual and collective commitments to action.

Report author Chris Littlecott, Associate Director at E3G, an independent climate change think tank, said: “The collapse of the global coal pipeline and the rise of commitments to ‘no new coal’ are progressing hand-in-hand. Ahead of COP26, governments can collectively confirm their intention to move from coal to clean energy.

“The economics of coal have become increasingly uncompetitive in comparison to renewable energy, while the risk of stranded assets has increased. Governments can now act with confidence to commit to ‘no new coal’.”

Report author Leo Roberts, Research Manager at E3G, said: “The structural transformation of the global electricity sector is accelerating, with countries increasingly steering away from coal power generation as they recognise that coal is a fuel of the past.

“The 40 countries in a position to commit to ‘no new coal’ can now join those who have already done so since Paris.”

Report co-author Christine Shearer, programme director at Global Energy Monitor, said: “New coal plants are incompatible with the international Paris climate agreement. The world’s leading scientific bodies are clear: Coal power needs to be essentially phased out in the next two decades to prevent dangerous climate change.”

Dave Jones, global programme lead at Ember, said: “We urge governments to publicly state their intentions that no new coal plants will be built in their country.”

Published on September 14, 2021

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