The EU must move swiftly away from coal power if it is to hit targets for reducing emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases.
A new report on the coal sector in the European Union (EU) says there is no hope of greenhouse gas emission reduction targets being met unless at least a quarter of the coal-fired power plants now operating in the region are phased out within the next three years,.
Scientists say that the burning of coal is the primary cause of global warming, and also of severe air pollution, leading to health and other problems.
The report by the Climate Analytics research group says that, by 2030, virtually all of the EU’s more than 300 coal power plants need to be phased out and plans for new coal-fired facilities abandoned.
Under the terms of the agreement reached at the Paris climate summit in late 2015, countries around the world set a target of holding temperatures to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”.
Coal power reduced
Climate Analytics says that while the EU reduced the use of coal in its power plants by 11% between 2000 and 2014, this is not nearly fast enough.
“While the role of coal has been decreasing in the EU electricity mix, a much faster coal phase-out is necessary to remain within the Paris Agreement-compatible emissions budget for coal in the electricity sector,” the report says.
Coal consumption worldwide has been static or declining in recent years, with its use falling by 1.8% in 2015 − the biggest drop in more than half a century.
In China –the world’s biggest producer and consumer of coal – consumption has been falling for the first time in decades. It dropped 1.4% in 2015, with a similar fall likely to be reported for last year.
The US, which has by far the world’s biggest coal deposits, has radically cut back on coal consumption, with a drop of nearly 13% in 2015.
Read more at Europe Warned to Switch Off Coal Power