Carbon Emissions Decrease As Countries Start Phasing Out Coal
The mild winter and the decreased use of coal fired power plants has led to global carbon emission levels decreasing by 2%.
Carbon emissions which are produced through the global electricity system fell by 2% in the last year, this is the biggest drop in nearly 30 years. The drop is thought to be down to countries around the world slowly staring to phase out their use of coal fired power plants.
A recent report showed that the last year was the largest reduction in carbon emissions from the world’s electricity generation network since 1990 which came as the United States and European Union have started turning to cleaner renewable energy sources.
In general, the power generated from coal powered sources fell by 3% in the last year, even with China relying more on coal than ever before. Chinas reliance on coal along with other nations phasing out the fossil fuels has meant that Chinas coal power generation makes up half of the total worlds coal generation.
In the last 13 years coal generation in Europe and the US has halved, and in the last year alone it fell by 25% in Europe and 16% in the US.
The report came from climate thinktank Ember, has warned that the decrease in the worlds reliance on coal fired power plants relied on many factors. One of these factors is that the recent winters have been milder than previous ones across many countries therefore households and businesses would not need as much power to provide heating.
The report stated that progress is being made on reducing coal generation however it is not at the urgency that is needed to limit the effects of climate change.
The lead author of the report, Dave Jones, said that governments need to act quickly to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources so that coal generation completely collapses over the next decade.
Jones went on to say that switching from coal to gas fired power plants is not the answer to the problem as it is just swapping one fossil fuel for another. The only real way to tackle this problem is through an accelerated rollout of solar and wind energy.
However, Jones is concerned that the lack of policymaker efforts that have been made to increase the rollout of solar and wind energy means that climate targets will not be met, especially with the increased use of coal and gas fired power plants in China.
The EU is leading the way in replacing coal fired power plants with wind and solar power however the US is increasing its reliance on natural gas due to the recent boom in shale gas.
The report found that in 2019 wind and solar power increased by 15% therefore making it 8% of the world’s total installed capacity.
In the EU, solar and wind power made up nearly 20% of all electricity produced last year, which is ahead of the US as solar and wind only made up 11% of its electricity network. In India and China, renewable energy sources accounted for 9% and 8% of their respective electricity systems.
For the Paris climate goals to be achieved, the world needs to ensure a 15% compound growth rate of wind and solar electricity generation every year. This will require a ‘colossal effort’ warns the report.
This report came from a separate piece of research that claimed 38 out of 75 of the biggest asset managers in the world are being in slow in taking actions on environmental, social and governance issues.