Global figures: Less coal-fired power stations are being constructed

by David Fleschen

One fifth less coal-fired power stations went to the grid compared with the previous year. At the start of construction, the declines in 2018 were even clearer: minus 39 percent compared to the previous year. These are the findings of a new study by Greenpeace, Global Energy Monitor and the Sierra Club. It also shows that the preparatory work for coal-fired power plants, such as planning procedures and approval processes, is declining. "Climate-damaging coal is on the decline in Germany and worldwide," says Greenpeace energy expert Niklas Schinerl. "Instead of delaying the coal withdrawal in Germany as long as possible, the federal government must accelerate it so far that the Paris climate targets are met."

The weakening expansion fits the changed economic and political environment. More than 100 institutions, such as the BNP Paribas, have severely limited their investments and financing in coal projects. Thirty-one countries, including Canada, the UK, France and Italy, have decided to cut coal. Hundreds of thousands of young people are taking to the streets worldwide to demand more climate protection. Coal-fired power plants are one of the main sources of climate-damaging CO2, and in 2018 they were responsible for more than 10 gigatons of CO2. "The science is clear: we need to get out of the coal as soon as possible, if we want to have a chance to prevent the worst consequences of the climate crisis," said Schinerl. "The policy must accelerate this transition, because so far it is much too slow."

Worldwide coal miners with a capacity of 31 gigawatts were shut down last year. This equates to a good 30 nuclear power plants and is the third highest since 2005. More than half of that went off the grid at just under 18 gigawatts (45 power plants) in the US, although President Donald Trump is trying to support coal by watering down health and environmental regulations , In China and India, new registrations fell to a historic low. Both countries were responsible for the increasing number of new coal miners in the last ten years. However, China's state-owned finance companies remain the key financiers for a quarter of the world's developing coal infrastructure.

The CO2 emissions of the existing coal-fired power plants are already enough to increase the global warming to well over 1.5 degrees, according to the IPCC report. "Only the rapid entry into the German coal exit can make a contribution to stopping the climate crisis," says Schinerl. "Even before the summer break, the Federal Government must submit the Climate Protection and Kohlesusstiegsgesetz and decide North Rhine Westphalia shutdown of the first 3 GW of lignite."
Source: Greenpeace, Photo: Fotolia

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