The independent global research group Climate Action Tracker released the report “The Coal Gap” at the Paris climate conference (COP21). In the Paris Agreement, every country agreed to the long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperatures to below 1.5/2°C above pre-industrial levels. However, the Coal Gap report brings out the fact that just the emissions from existing coal plants will push us over the 2°C limit. The situation will worsen if we include the construction plans for new coal plants into the mix. To keep warming below 2°C, only a further 2Gt-CO2 (2 billion tons) from coal-fired power plants worldwide can be emitted in 2030. Despite such limitations, existing coal-fired power plants are projected to emit 5.5Gt-CO2 (5.5 billion tons) in 2030, and total emissions are estimated to reach 12Gt-CO2 (12.0 billion tones) if all coal plants in the pipeline are to be built. This report waves a red flag about the difficulties we will face to meet the reduction target stated in the Paris Agreement should all countries keep building and operating coal plants as planned. On the other hand, 3.5Gt (3.5 billion tones) of CO2 emissions can be avoided by stopping the construction of new plants. The report lists nine countries that are possibly a making big impact on the future reduction of emissions with the cancellation of new plans. Japan, as well as other developing countries, is one of these countries. It is clear that controlling coal-fired power plants is urgent and that now is the time to be making wise decisions to stop the future construction of coal plants.
★ Reference (Original Report)
The Coal Gap, Climate Action Tracker, December 2015