SOURCE: Environmental Research Letters
DATE: February 7, 2018
SNIP: [T]he continued reliance on coal-fired power plants in a number of major emerging economies could still turn out to be a massive stumbling block for climate change mitigation. Coal-fired power plants currently announced, planned, or under construction will, over the course of their expected life-time, generate a substantial amount of emissions in addition to those that are already ‘locked in’ (i.e. which will likely be generated in the future by already existing infrastructure). Unless these power plants are retired well before their expected life-time, which would increase mitigation costs and constitute a formidable political challenge, their associated emissions jeopardize the achievement of the (Intended) Nationally Determined Contributions ((I)NDC) targets as well as effective long-term climate change mitigation.
In 2016, China and India have each canceled more than 50 percent of their plans to build new coal-fired power plants, according to the study. However, globally coal investments are further increasing. Turkey, Indonesia, and Vietnam, for example, plan to increase their capacity altogether by about 160 gigawatts. This is about as much as the output of all existing coal-fired plants in the 28 EU countries.
In addition, other countries’ planned future investments in coal have been massively extended in 2016. Investment plans in Egypt, for example, have increased almost eightfold, while they have nearly doubled in Pakistan. These developments jeopardize countries’ ability to meet their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), as CO2emissions from coal-fired power plants would increase almost tenfold from 2012 to 2030 in Vietnam, for example, and almost quadruple in Turkey.