This chart shows the fall in coal-power plants being planned around the world

Coal 2019

(Dominik Vanyi, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Douglas Broom, Senior Writer, Formative Content


Coal is widely acknowledged as one of the most polluting ways to generate electricity. The International Energy Agency (IEA) calculates that this one fuel alone has been responsible for a third of all global warming in modern times.

So, the news that the amount of planned new coal-fired generating plants reached a new low last year must be good for the planet. The amount of planned capacity fell by over a third last year and was 84% down on the figure for 2015.

But although fewer new coal-fired power stations are being planned, those already approved are still being built. Global Energy Monitor says there was a 12% increase in the amount of coal-fired capacity under construction last year. And the IEA reported this week that coal usage rose last year for the second year in a row, reversing two years of decline up to 2016 and contributing to a 1.7% increase in CO2 emissions.

Image: International Energy Agency

Two-thirds of new coal-fired capacity coming online last year was in China and almost a fifth was in India. Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam also increased coal burning capacity in 2018.

Paradoxically, despite using more coal, China also achieved the world’s biggest increase in solar and wind generation last year. Renewables now account for more than a quarter of world power generation, and last year they delivered close to half of the growth in global capacity.

How coal shutdowns factor

The amount of coal-based capacity closed down last year was almost equivalent to China’s capacity growth which meant the growth rate of coal capacity slowed to the lowest on record, the fourth straight year of decline.

The US led the way, shutting down 18 gigawatts of capacity. India and China both plan large scale closedowns in coming years. Over half of EU member states have committed to phase out coal by 2030. In the UK, coal provides just 5% of capacity, down from two-fifths six years ago.

Disappointing as it was, last year’s 0.7% increase in coal use was much slower than the 4.5% annual rate in the decade to 2010. But coal still remains the largest source of global power generation and the second largest source of primary energy.

The World Economic Forum’s 2019 Fostering Effective Energy Transition Report found that the pace of the world’s transition towards clean energy had slowed to the lowest rate for five years, with investment in clean energy down by almost 10% last year.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Berlin vies for a Germanic European Central Bank

Is sub-Saharan Africa ready for the electric vehicle revolution?

First-ever World Braille Day underscores importance of written language for human rights

Educational disadvantage starts from age 10

External action: more funds for human rights, development and climate change

We need a global convention to end workplace sexual harassment

How cities are failing to be inclusive – and what they can do about it

EU to spend €6 billion on youth employment and training futile schemes

TTIP’s 11th round starts in Miami but EU-US businesses see no sunny side

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile Connect availability hits 2B

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Albinism, displacement in Central America, family-friendly nations, updates on the Gulf and Darfur

The MWC14 Sting Special Edition

Why will Paris upcoming “loose” climate change agreement work better than the previous ones?

Mental Health Policy, a significant driver for growth

We’ve lost 60% of wildlife in less than 50 years

IMF: How can Eurozone avoid stagnation

Why medical students decide to study abroad?

Stronger European Border and Coast Guard to secure EU’s borders

Greece returns to markets at a high cost to taxpayers, after four years out in the cold

Backed by UN agency, countries set to take on deadly livestock-killing disease

Female African coders ‘on the front-line of the battle’ to change gender power relations: UN chief

Refugee crisis update: EU still lacks solidarity as Hungary and Slovakia refuse to accept EU Court’s decision

How cities can lead the way in bridging the global housing gap

Khashoggi murder trials must public and meet international standards, UN expert urges

Main results of EU-Japan summit which took place on 25/04/2019 in Brussels

How smart tech helps cities fight terrorism and crime

Cocaine and opium production worldwide hit ‘absolute record highs’ – major threat to public health says UN study

New identity cards deliver recognition and protection for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Migration and rule of law on next ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly agenda

The UK remains in the EU until a new Brexit date is set

Syria still suffering ‘staggering levels’ of humanitarian need, Security Council hears

How to have a good Fourth Industrial Revolution

Children who exercise have more brain power, finds study

The Commission favours the cultivation of more GMOs in Europe

Dual Food Quality: Commission releases study assessing differences in the composition of EU food products

Corporate tax remains a key revenue source, despite falling rates worldwide

Afghanistan: top UN official denounces ‘extreme’ suffering of civilians in Ghazni

UN rights chief ‘strongly’ condemns ‘shocking’ mass executions in Saudi Arabia

Working Muslim women are a trillion-dollar market

New Zealand has unveiled its first ‘well-being’ budget

G20 starts to tackle inequality

These are the benefits of learning a second language

Erdogan vies to become Middle East Sultan over Khashoggi’s killing

Facebook: MEPs demand a full audit by EU bodies to assess data protection

These countries are leading the charge to clean energy

Statement by the Brexit Steering Group on UK government White paper

Will AI make the gender gap in the workplace harder to close?

UN recognises role of sport in achieving sustainable development

Eurozone close to agreeing on a Banking Union

IMAGINATION, FACTS AND OPPORTUNITIES – THE UNLIMITED POWER OF CHINA

Restore hope that peace will come to the Middle East, UN negotiator urges Security Council

The power of digital tools to transform mental healthcare

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

What is the UN General Assembly and what does it do?

MEPs Anti-fraud votes for more votes?

More women than ever before are running for political office in the US

Impossible Brexit options: WTO or new referendum?

Peru should help more young vulnerable people into work

Employment and Social Developments in Europe: 2018 review confirms positive trends but highlights challenges, in particular linked to automation and digitalisation

We can feed the world in a sustainable way, but we need to act now

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s