76 per cent fall in proposed coal power since Paris pact: Report

The report by climate change think tank E3G finds that action by just six countries could remove 82 per cent of the remaining global pipeline.

Just ahead of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres convening the High-level Dialogue on Energy, a new report on Tuesday assessed the global pipeline of new coal projects and found there has been a 76 per cent reduction in proposed coal power since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, bringing the end of new coal construction into sight. This leaves 44 countries without a pre-construction pipeline, and in a position to commit to “no new coal”, joining 40 countries that have made this commitment since 2015. Together, they can respond to Guterres’ call for “no new coal by 2021”. The report by climate change think tank E3G finds that action by just six countries could remove 82 per cent of the remaining global pipeline.

China alone accounts for 55 per cent of the global total, followed by India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey, and Bangladesh. India is home to 7 per cent (21GW) of the global pipeline, which is 56 per cent of South Asia’s total. The remaining pipeline is thinly spread across a further 31 countries, 16 of which are only one project away from embracing a future without coal. These countries could follow global momentum and regional peers in ending their pursuit of new coal-fired power generation.

If China follows East Asian neighbours Japan and South Korea in ending overseas coal finance, it would facilitate the cancellation of over 40GW of pipeline projects across 20 countries.

The upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow this November, hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, earmarked by COP President designate Alok Sharma as “the COP that consigns coal to history”, will be a key moment for demonstrating momentum away from new coal, and for richer countries to provide support to countries in pivoting towards a coal-free future.

Coal is the single largest contributor to climate change. According to a recent UN report (IPCC), the use of coal needs to fall 79 per cent by 2030 on 2019 levels to meet the pledges countries signed up to in the Paris Agreement.

The report is released ahead of UN General Assembly and the High-Level Dialogue on Energy, where countries will advance their individual and collective commitments to action. The report’s author Chris Littlecott, Associate Director at E3G, said: “The collapse of the global coal pipeline and the rise of commitments to ‘no new coal’ are progressing hand in hand. Ahead of COP26, governments can collectively confirm their intention to move from coal to clean energy.

“The economics of coal have become increasingly uncompetitive in comparison to renewable energy, while the risk of stranded assets has increased. Governments can now act with confidence to commit to ‘no new coal’.”