Even ‘most efficient’ coal puts global climate goals out of reach -report

Published 09:57 on April 14, 2016  /  Last updated at 11:17 on April 14, 2016  /  Asia Pacific, International, Japan, Other APAC, Paris Article 6  /  No Comments

Even the most efficient coal plants are not compatible with the global climate change goals, a study commissioned by green group WWF found, undermining claims that such plants count as climate action and are eligible for climate finance.

Even the most efficient coal plants are not compatible with the global climate change goals, a study commissioned by green group WWF found, undermining claims that such facilities count as climate action and are eligible for climate finance.

A report from Ecofys published on Thursday showed that any coal-fired power generation will take the world off course from the 2C warming target in the Paris Agreement.

“The future of coal-fired power plants, even of ‘efficient’ ones, looks bleak due to the drastic CO2 emission reductions in the power sector that are needed to limit the global average temperature rise to well below 2C, let alone the 1.5C limit agreed in Paris,” said David de Jager, a principal consultant at Ecofys.

The study referenced UN-backed scientific studies from the IPCC showing that emissions from the global electricity sector need to rapidly reduce and be close to zero by 2050 to stay well under 2C.

It found that even if all coal plants used the most efficient available technology – so-called ‘high efficiency low emissions’ (HELE) technology – the sector’s emissions would still be above those levels.

WWF said this means that governments need to end giving financial concessions to coal technology immediately and phase out all plants by 2035 in OECD nations and 2050 globally.

“It is clear that in a post-Paris world, there is quite simply no role for coal, however ‘efficient’,” said WWF economist Sebastien Godinot.

FACTFILE

  • Institutions such as the World Bank and the GCF have drawn criticism from environmental campaigners for failing to rule out funding coal plants.
  • Japan’s Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) has also faced flak for drawing up ideas that would allow carbon credits to be earned by using more efficient coal technologies in countries such as Indonesia.
  • Some 2,300 new coal power plants – 1,400 GW of capacity – are planned worldwide but there are doubts that many of those will be built due to climate policies and competition from other power sources such as renewables.

By Ben Garside – ben@carbon-pulse.com

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