You are here: Home » News-ANI » Science
Business Standard

Reports of coal's terminal decline are premature

ANI  |  New Delhi [India] 

While less new coal-fired power plants are now being built in and India, the planned expansion in the use of in fast-growing emerging economies, such as Turkey, and Vietnam, will in part cancel out the reduction.

Only if the countries of the world actively counteract this trend, they can achieve the climate goals agreed in the Agreement.

These are the results of the study "Reports of coal's terminal decline may be exaggerated," authored by researchers from the on Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), published in the journal

"The problem is by no means self-defeating, despite all the advances in renewable If the international community wants to achieve its to avoid the greatest climate risks, then it must act decisively," says PIK's Ottmar Edenhofer, who is also of the MCC.

"It would take a exit, worldwide. The best way to do this is, from an economic point of view, a substantial carbon pricing. It may look different from one country to another, but a coalition of pioneers should do the first step - this very decade."

In 2016, and have each cancelled more than 50 percent of their plans to build new coal-fired power plants, according to the study. However, globally investments are further increasing.

Turkey, and Vietnam, for example, plan to increase their capacity altogether by about 160 gigawatts. This is about as much as the output of all existing coal-fired plants in the 28 EU countries.

In addition, other countries' planned future investments in have been massively extended in 2016.

Investment plans in Egypt, for example, have increased almost eightfold, while they have nearly doubled in

These developments jeopardize countries' ability to meet their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), as CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants would increase almost tenfold from 2012 to 2030 in Vietnam, for example, and almost quadruple in

"It is true that has recently invested less in and has perhaps even passed its peak in carbon emissions," says Edenhofer. "This has rightly received a lot of attention - but to speak of the end of is premature. Recent data also show that is increasingly investing in coal-fired power plants abroad."

If current plans are implemented, emissions from would nearly exhaust the remaining global carbon budget, which is determined by the Agreement's target to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius.

According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if the world wants to likely stay below the two-degree threshold, it may only release another estimated 700 to 800 gigatons (Gt) of CO2 into the atmosphere.

However, the existing infrastructure including, for example, power plants and buildings, is expected to emit about 500 Gt already if used to the end of its lifecycle. The coal-fired power plants currently under construction and those additionally planned would amount to another 150 Gt.

Under these circumstances, additional emission growth, for instance, resulting from growth within the transport sector or agriculture would then exceed the total budget. The newly published study is based on data of the US-based organization and the International Agency (IEA) as well as on subsequent research by the authors.

"Although the costs of renewables have recently fallen, they still can't compete with cheap in many parts of the world," says Jan Steckel, of the MCC working group Climate and Development.

"The financial costs for renewable in these countries are stagnating at a relatively high level. In order to incentivize investments in renewables, capital costs would have to be reduced by means of intelligent policies, such as the use of credit default swaps."

The for a global exit. For example, could be pushed out of the markets by means of a roadmap to shut down mines, stricter power plant regulations and higher carbon prices worldwide.

This could be combined with using the revenues from carbon pricing for a socially just transition of or the expansion of socially necessary infrastructure.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 08 2018. 17:20 IST