Already ten countries have committed to live without coal in 2030: three of the G7 economies – United Kingdom, Canada and France – and six other EU countries. The Netherlands has joined the list this month. Indonesia, the third-largest builder of new thermal power plants, has also announced that it will not start any other new coal projects in its main power grid.
From 2014 to the present day, countries such as Belgium or municipalities of the size of Peking with its 20 million inhabitants have already completely eliminated the use of coal for electricity, and an increasing number of them are announcing their cessation by 2030, Greenpeace said in a statement.
On the other hand, China and India, the two most populous countries on the planet, have drastically reduced investments in new plants due to, among other things, public protests against high levels of air pollution, they add.
Moreover, since 2010, more than a quarter of the 1,675 coal-owning or coal-burning companies in the world have abandoned the business, according to new research from the CoalSwarm and Greenpeace platform. This represents about 370 large coal-fired power plants, whose electricity production is equivalent to six times that of the United Kingdom and more than 365 billion euro in retired or undeveloped assets.
“Before 2014, no jurisdiction had completely abandoned coal,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, energy analyst at Greenpeace East Asia. “What we are seeing now is the beginning of a major overhaul of our energy system, one that can cope with climate change and air pollution. Governments now need to accelerate to reach a 100% renewable energy scenario and ensure a fair transition for workers and communities affected by the collapse of the coal industry,“.
Live without coal
Tatiana Nuño, head of Greenpeace’s climate change campaign, draws attention to the fact that while in the past two years, record amounts of coal have been withdrawn, a trend she believes will accelerate, “the Spanish Government has announced that it will approve a Royal Decree to regulate the closure of thermal plants that could go in the opposite direction “.
“Coal burning is the main cause of climate change, in addition to producing other polluting substances that impact our health. Now more than ever, there is a need for policies, such as those being enforced by an increasing number of countries, to plan for the closure of the 16 coal-fired power stations in our country before 2025“, Nuño said.
Greenpeace adds that “despite President Trump’s rhetoric about the reactivation of the coal industry, the decision to withdraw coal plants in the United States continued in 2017 at the same pace as the previous year, with 54 units announcing their shutdown– a generation capacity equal to the overall Spanish thermal coal-fired power plants- California’s largest US economy, is already free of coal and is actively pushing its neighboring states to reduce their carbon footprint. Massachusetts is due to close its latest coal-fired power plant this year and five other states – Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, Oregon and Washington – are already scheduled for shifting-away from them. “