Coal phase out
Coal phase out – global and regional perspective
Phasing out coal from the electricity sector is the single most important step to get in line with 1.5°C. How fast does coal need to be phased out in order to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, in light of the latest science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)?
- Global coal emissions should peak in 2020;
- Global coal use in electricity generation must fall by 80% below 2010 levels by 2030;
- OECD nations should end coal use entirely by 2030;
- All coal-fired power stations must be shut by 2040 at the latest.
Details in our September 2019 report Global and regional coal phase out requirements of the Paris Agreement: Insights from the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C. This report is an update of our 2016 analysis Implications of the Paris Agreement for coal use in the power sector.
Impact of our work
Our coal reports underpin the global coal phase out movement by providing science-based benchmarks to establish target coal phase-out dates that are consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.
The Powering Past Coal Alliance, launched at COP23, in its declaration refers directly to the benchmarks provided in our global coal report, to stress that the Paris Agreement requires coal phase out by 2030 in the OECD countries and by 2050 in the rest of the world. This alliance, in which national and sub-national partners commit to phasing out existing coal power in their jurisdictions, and to introducing a moratorium on any new traditional coal power stations, aims to increase its membership to 50 by 2018.
In Europe, a number of countries and sub-national authorities have established phase-out dates consistent with the 2030 benchmark provided in our reports. The recently launched BeyondCoal European campaign, is aiming at establishing similar commitments in the remaining member states to achieve a coal phase-out in the European Union by 2030.
Expanding our work
Coal is still cheap because it does not factor in the costs of environmental and health impacts, so there is no strong market signal to phase out. Many developing countries look to coal to meet their rapidly growing energy demand due to its low price, the availability of this technology and blueprints for coal deployment, as well as financing. However, renewable energy is a low cost alternative and many countries are already well on the way in its deployment at scale, while others have a very high potential for its deployment.
We’re in the process of expanding our work on science-based coal phase out strategies into the Asia-Pacific region. A number of countries in this region are planning to significantly increase their coal capacities.
Phasing out coal is a complex problem; solving it must involve many actors and it must occur on parallel with a phase-in of renewables and integration. We work with partner institutions to develop an analytical framework that encompasses not just coal phase-out but also renewables phase-in and integration, aiming to inform policymakers in developing countries.
2030 targets aligned to 1.5°C: evidence from the latest global pathways
Our new method applies sustainability limits and minimises the need for carbon dioxide removal to set key 2030 global targets for renewables, fossil fuels and emissions.
The Coal Gap: planned coal-fired power plants inconsistent with 2˚C and threaten achievement of INDCs
The Climate Action Tracker’s analysis released during COP21 in Paris finds that if all coal plants in the pipeline were to be built, by 2030, emissions from coal power would be 400% higher than what is consistent with a 2°C pathway.
A stress test for coal in Europe under the Paris Agreement
Employment opportunities from a coal-to-renewables transition in South Korea
Japan at an international crossroads - seeking a sunset for coal
Japan stands at a crossroads ahead of its Presidency of the G20 in 2019. Its potential role as a leader of climate ambition and clean technology depends on it making the right decisions to establish a sunset for coal power generation. This shift must include both its domestic energy policy and its finance for coal technology overseas.
Transitioning towards a coal-free society: science based coal phase-out pathway for South Korea under the Paris Agreement
This report explores the implications of the Paris Agreement for coal-fired power generation in South Korea.
Assessing the health benefits of a Paris-aligned coal phase out for South Korea
Coal phase out and energy transition pathways for Asia and the Pacific
This report provides insights into how Asia and the Pacific region can transition away from coal to a renewable based efficient energy system compatible with the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.
Emissions as usual: implications for the Safeguard Mechanism of LNG and coal mine projects
This report examines the implications of committed and proposed developments in the LNG and coal mining sectors for reform of Australia's Safeguard Mechanism.
Australian Energy "Green Paper" foresees continuing increase in coal use: undermines 2°C goal and heads towards 4°C world
Australia's new 'Green Paper' assumes rapid increases in coal demand from Asian economies and proposes to align Australian government policies to facilitate accelerated approval of developments to support this.
Paris Tango. Climate action so far in 2018: individual countries step forward, others backward, risking stranded coal assets
Science-based coal phase out pathway for Germany in line with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C warming limit: opportunities and benefits of an accelerated energy transition
This report examines for the first time what the Paris Agreement 1.5°C limit means for coal phase out in Germany’s electricity generation. It sets out a coal exit strategy for Germany's electricity supply including co-benefits.
Coal's rapid phase out essential, not enough to stay below 2°C warming
A rapid phase out of coal as an electricity source by 2050 would reduce warming by half a degree, according to the Climate Action Tracker, in an update released today ahead of the Ban ki-Moon climate summit. Under current Government policies, the world is on track to warm by 3.7°C by 2100.
Australia's power supply: brown and polluting
G20 Brown to Green Report 2019
The Brown to Green Report 2019 provides a comprehensive overview of all G20 countries, whether – and how well – they are doing on the journey to transition towards a net-zero emissions economy.
Scaling up climate action in Indonesia
This report analyses areas where Indonesia could accelerate its climate action. Limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C is highly relevant for Indonesia as, at 3% of global emissions, it is among the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters and expected to be among the worst affected by climate change.
Shifting investment away from fossil fuels in Southeast Asia
This report looks into the need to stop the expansion of coal and phasing out coal for power generation in Southeast Asia to avoid the catastrophic climate change impacts that threaten the region.
Germany's coal exit law, or the politics of inertia
Southeast Asia’s plans to expand coal power are undermining the global energy shift
In China and Pakistan's coal romance — where is the love for the climate?
"Winning the future will not be done with technologies of the past" — Climate Analytics' Dr Fahad Saeed writes about Pakistan's plans to massively expand its coal capacity.
Heatwave and war are unveiling the vulnerability of India’s coal dominated power sector
The inadequate in pursuit of the out-of-date: Germany’s coal exit must be revised by 2020
Germany's Coal Commission has ignored essential review guidelines of the national climate targets with regard to the Paris Agreement. The commission's plan must be revised already by 2020, alongside the EU's and Germany's targets.
(Article also available in German)
Are you kidding, India? Your last-minute Glasgow intervention won’t relieve pressure to ditch coal
Even though India managed to weaken the language on coal phaseout in the Glasgow Climate Pact, the pressure to ditch the fossil fuel is not going away.
G7 moving faster on climate since last Summit, but behind schedule on ending coal and gas
As world leaders gather at the G7 Summit in Hiroshima this weekend, we take a look at progress made since the last Summit on cutting emissions and decarbonising power to see if they’re living up to their promises.