14 November, 2016

Implications of the Paris Agreement for coal use in the power sector


Dr. Marcia Rocha, Bill Hare, Paola Yanguas Parra, Niklas Roming, Ugur Ural, Dr. Andrzej Ancygier, Jasmin Cantzler, Fabio Sferra, Howard Li, Dr. Michiel Schaeffer

For all regions assessed here, the need for coal phase out on the next decades to meet the Paris Agreement long term temperature goal stands in strong contrast with the current and planned coal-based generation capacity.

  • Cumulative emissions from current coal capacity (operating and under construction) of 2.308 GW exceed the cost-optimal CO2 emissions budget in line with the Paris Agreement long-term temperature goal until the end of the century.
  • We estimate the world is currently planning on building 1082 new (permitted or pre-permitted) coal-fired power plants with combined capacity of around 596GW, which would go on top of the already exceeding capacity from operating plants. If this new capacity would be built, it would lock-in the energy infrastructure of many countries on a carbon-intensive pathway for at least the next 40 years.