Is 2019 the beginning of the end for coal in Europe?

Emissions 2019

(Unsplash, 2019)

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

Author: Charlotte Edmond, Formative Content


Coal generation in Europe fell by a fifth in the first half of this year, with almost every coal-burning country cutting back.

Western Europe saw particularly dramatic drops in production – up to 79% in Ireland, according to climate think-tank Sandbag. And there were times of zero or near-zero generation in many countries. The UK, for example, switched off its coal plants for a fortnight in May for the first time.

Image: Sandbag

In absolute terms, Germany saw the biggest drop, as it made substantial cutbacks in both hard coal and its dirtier relative lignite. But it remained responsible for over a third of the coal generation in the EU so far this year, the research shows.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about the transition to clean energy?

The rise of renewables

Renewable resources are slowly taking the place of coal, with both solar and wind energy rising across the EU. However, the use of gas, another fossil fuel, has risen as coal disappears and carbon pricing shifts incentives.

The fall in coal use has been much smaller in eastern European countries, with lower uptake of green alternatives. And in some cases, such as Slovenia and Bulgaria, coal generation even rose. Many countries, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece, still rely heavily on lignite.

Image: Sandbag

 

Down and dirty

The trend for less coal puts the EU on course to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.5% year-on-year. But coal’s phase-out is still fairly slow: just a smattering of plants have been closed so far in 2019, mostly in the UK and Germany. And coal will continue to account for 12% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions this year.

Image: IEA

Globally coal makes up almost two-fifths of electricity generation, according to the International Energy Agency. It is also crucial in the iron and steel industries. And while its use has been falling in some regions, such as the US and Europe, demand continues to climb in China and India.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

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

2014 will bring more European Union for the big guys and less for the weak

More women and girls needed in the sciences to solve world’s biggest challenges

More accessible products and services for disabled and elderly people

UN launches new framework to strengthen fight against terrorism

The Commission neglects the services sector and favours industry

Antibiotic resistance: challenges and solutions

German heavy artillery against Brussels and Paris

Indonesian tsunami death toll climbs over 400 as Government-led relief efforts are stepped up

South Africa’s economy in 5 charts

Global Trade Identity can be the cornerstone of paperless trade

Corporations must help shape a better world – or risk being left behind

How to build a better world for heart health after COVID-19

4 key ways countries can finance their SDG ambitions

Berlin cannot dictate anymore the terms for the enactment of the European Banking Union

My experience living with depression and schizophrenia in Thailand

From Kenya to China, here’s why countries should start working together on AI

Employment and Social Developments in Europe review: why social fairness and solidarity are more important than ever

Africans can fight COVID-19 with stakeholder capitalism

Panic buying of face masks and other supplies puts healthcare workers at risk, says WHO

MWC 2016 LIVE: Stripe gives payments leg-up to startups in emerging markets

When nations work together, hope prevails and collective solutions can be found – UN chief tells Peace Forum, marking World War centenary in Paris

Brussels enraged with Swiss referendum result to keep out EU citizens

‘Emulate his example’ urges UN chief as world celebrates Nelson Mandela: a ‘global advocate for dignity and equality’

Europe rethinking its severe austerity policies

Commission approves emergency measures to protect eastern Baltic cod

In post-COVID Latin America, investment in infrastructure can bring back tourism – and rebuild the economy

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: Busting the myth by looking at the facts

Plenary highlights: Commission changes, EU budget and climate law

Central Mali: Top UN genocide prevention official sounds alarm over recent ethnically-targeted killings

Online radio and news broadcasts: Parliament and Council reach deal

US-China trade war at point of no return: Washington’s demands go beyond tariffs

In 2020 Asia will have the world’s largest GDP. Here’s what that means

Chart of the day: This is why we need to protect nature’s pollinators

Agreement on EU instrument supporting border management and common visa policy

What does Tsipras have to offer to the rest of Europe? Is it worth an early advance of €10 billion? Berlin sturdily denies it

The mother of all fights about inflation, growth and banks

14 ways to protect your mental health in the pandemic, according to Public Health England

Female leaders warn about the erosion of women’s rights

Team Europe: The European Union disburses €25 million to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus crisis in The Gambia

G7: A serious setback hardly avoided in iconic Biarritz

Why women aren’t allowed to work

COVID-19: A coordinated EU health strategy needed, say MEPs

UN chemical weapons watchdog adds new powers to assign blame, following attacks

Somalia’s population, international partners must be energized to sustain country’s ‘upward trajectory,’ says senior UN official

A record number of people will need help worldwide during 2020: Global Humanitarian Overview

Three ways to improve your corporate culture in the #MeToo era

This is what happens when a school swaps french fries for quinoa

The Commission offers exit from the EU budget stalemate

What cryptocurrencies will do to the integrity of politics

End discrimination against women and children affected by leprosy

EU and Indian flags at EU-India Summit in New Delhi last October (copyright EU 2018, Source: EC - Audiovisual Service)

India and the EU get close to revive talks on proposed Free Trade Agreement

Sri Lankan authorities must work ‘vigorously’ to ease simmering ethno-religious tensions, urges UN rights expert

Climate change will force us to redefine economic growth

FROM THE FIELD: Sailing a traditional and sustainable path in Fiji’s tropical waters

Human rights ‘core to sustainable development’: deputy UN chief

Europe faces economic turmoil as Italy gets closer to the Excessive Debt Procedure

Indonesia is buzzing with entrepreneurial spirit. And others in ASEAN aren’t far behind

Europe is designing satellites that ‘surf’ their way past space debris

‘Compelling case’ for urgency around global disarmament, UN-led forum told

UN chief condemns explosion at election rally in Zimbabwe that injured dozens, including senior politicians

More Stings?

Advertising

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