The Coal Gap: planned coal-fired power plants inconsistent with 2˚C and threaten achievement of INDCs
More than 2,400 coal-fired power stations are under construction or being planned around the world, a study has revealed.
The new plants will emit 6.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and undermine the efforts at the Paris climate conference to limit global warming to 2C. China is building 368 plants and planning a further 803, according to the study by four climate change research bodies, including Ecofys and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. India is building 297 and planning 149.
Even with no new construction, emissions from coal-fired power generation in 2030 would still be 150% higher than what is consistent with scenarios limiting warming to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels (middle of the range). If the planned new coal capacity – estimated by the Global Coal Plant Tracker - were to be built, it would exceed the required levels by 400%.
Despite the need to phase out emissions from coal-fired power generation to hold warming to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, many governments - and the EU28 - are still planning to construct significant amounts of coal power capacity. In many emerging economies, coal capacity is constructed to meet rapidly increasing electricity demand, while in the EU28, new coal plants are mainly to replace existing capacity.
While, in principle, current policy projections should take account of planned coal plants, in reality this is not necessarily the case. Current policy projections account for the plans for renewables, and projected energy demand, and assume that coal will be replaced by renewable energy.
The situation with the planned coal plants differs largely from country to country. For China, the planned capacity could result in an increase over the current policy emissions of 1 GtCO2, by far the largest amount of all countries.
Climate Action Tracker
Is China doubling down on its coal power bubble? GreeenPeace