Earlier this week a major global report
explained how the world could tackle climate
change while growing the economy,
at no extra cost.
One of its top recommendations was for rich
countries to get out of coal as quickly as possible. It said these
countries should immediately promise to stop building new coal
plants and to accelerate the closure of old power
That sounds like a pretty simple ask. So are the
EU's major coal users like the UK and Germany up for an accelerated
coal phase-out? Not exactly, it turns out.
Cut coal for growth and climate
The coal exit plea comes from the Global Commission on
the Economy and Climate's New Climate Economy
report. The UK government and others set up the commission to
investigate whether the global economy could continue to grow while
tackling the risks of climate change.
The report finds that most of the emissions cuts
required to avoid dangerous warming could be made at no additional
cost to the economy, if there is "strong and broad implementation"
of its ten point plan. The findings were
backed by UK climate secretary Ed
The report puts special emphasis on reducing
coal emissions. Coal is the dirtiest of fossil fuels and is
responsible for three-quarters of all power sector emissions
despite only providing two-fifths of power. So getting out of coal
is an "essential feature" of climate action, the report says, and
it is "critical" to limit further coal expansion.