Carbon dioxide emission by the power sector reduced 2 per cent globally following a 3 per cent fall in coal-fired power generation, Ember , an independent climate think-tank accelerating the global electricity transition has estimated.
Both are the biggest declines since at least 1990. Coal collapsed in the EU and the US; but Chinese coal fired power generation rose and for the first time China was responsible for half of global coal-based electricity generation.
Ember, gather, curates and analyses data on the global coal to clean transition, with a focus on the power sector. Its latest report of power generation considers a new global dataset for electricity generation & demand across 217 countries. Data for 2019 covers 85 per cent of the world’s electricity production
The data collated by the firm shows falling coal is not yet the “new normal”, which means limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees is looking extremely difficult. The coal fall in 2019 relied on many one-off factors. Progress is being made on reducing coal generation, but nothing like with the urgency needed to limit climate change.
Wind and solar generation rose by 15 per cent in 2019; generating 8 per cent of the world’s electricity. A compound growth rate of 15 per cent of wind and solar generation is needed every year to meet the Paris climate agreement. This was achieved in 2019, but maintaining this high growth rate as volumes scale up, will require a colossal effort.
US coal collapse is undermined by a switch to gas, whereas the EU leap-frogged from coal to wind and solar. Coal generation collapsed by 24 per cent in the EU and 16 per cent in the US in 2019,