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.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

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

Myanmar: New UN envoy offers to serve ‘as a bridge’, recognizes ‘positive steps’ over Rakhine state

EU rewards organisations that make eco-innovation pay

A digital tax sounds like a great idea. Here’s why it might not be universally popular

The third bailout agreement for Greece is a done deal amid European economies full of problems

Scotland in United Kingdom: It’s either the end or the beginning of the end

‘Exercise restraint’ Guterres urges Sri Lankans, as political crisis deepens

Low quality healthcare is increasing the burden of illness and health costs globally

LGBTQI+ and health care: do they deserve more attention from medical universities?

vSudan: UN chief calls for ‘positive momentum’ as civilian rule talks stall between military and opposition

Spending on health increase faster than rest of global economy, UN health agency says

Ukraine: Is there a political force able to undo the division?

Hackers are causing blackouts. It’s time to boost our cyber resilience

UN rights chief ‘deeply concerned’ over Jehovah’s Witness sentencing in Russia

Banks and businesses must step up and work together to fight climate change

How to talk to people about mental health – and support one another

German and French bankers looted the Irish and Spanish unemployed

Greening the Belt and Road is essential to our climate’s future

Cameron’s Conservatives and UKIP are exploiting and cultivating anti-EU immigration sentiment but Labour party isn’t?

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

5 ways to bridge the global health worker shortage

What my transgender child can teach us about the workforce of the future

Why today’s leaders need to know about the power of narratives

Finland, Switzerland and New Zealand lead the way at teaching skills for the future

African economies sustain progress in domestic resource mobilisation

UK voters sent strong message to May and Corbyn for soft Brexit

Macron plans for Europe, Brexit and banks but vague on France

Monday’s Daily Brief: #ClimateAction for the Pacific, Gaza blockade, attack in Burkina Faso

How the diaspora is helping Venezuela’s migration crisis

Clean Mobility: Commission tables proposal on car emissions testing in real driving conditions

Child victims of DRC Ebola outbreak need ‘special attention and care’: UNICEF

From low-earth orbit, ‘envoys’ of humanity join UN space forum

UN chief welcomes prisoner exchange between the Russia and Ukraine

DiscoverEU: 15,000 travel passes up for grabs to explore the EU this summer

Will technology connect or divide us? The challenge for leaders in Globalization 4.0

We probably should go back to the therapy in Primary Healthcare

How cities, not states, can solve the world’s biggest problems

We need to measure innovation better. Here’s how

Getting African Women into the Boardroom

Moving from a promise made in Sweden towards hope for peace in Yemen

Serious concerns over Sahel, require ‘urgent action’: Senior UN Africa official

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: Strategies and reflections

Eurozone examines the prospect of issuing debt paper jointly

Universal access to energy is a major challenge for the Arab world. Here’s why

Multiprofessional action against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics

Impressions of China

Threat from petty criminals who turn to terrorism, a growing concern, Security Council hears

Britain, EU take edgy steps to unlock Brexit talks as the war of words rages

UN launches new fund to advance sustainable development in Aral Sea region

Threats from mammoth banks and Brussels fuel May’s poll rates

Why carbon capture could be the game-changer the world needs

Make this the year of ‘transformative solutions’ to avert disastrous climate change: UN Deputy Chief

World’s human rights watchdog spotlights Afghanistan, Yemen and 12 others: Here’s the scoop

Trump systematically upsets global order and trade: Where does this end?

Energy Union: EU’s effort towards a cleaner climate with integrated energy market

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

Eurozone: How can 200 banks find €400 billion?

‘Foreign children’ in overwhelmed Syrian camp need urgent international help, says top UN official

Continue ‘their mission’ urges UN chief, as the victims of the Baghdad bombing are remembered, 15 years on

3 autonomous vehicle trends to follow in 2019

What does reimagining our energy system look like?

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