Coal-dependent countries around the world face two wickedly interlinked challenges: accelerating the phase out of coal to stop the planet warming, while sustaining economic prosperity and political support.
A swift transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is increasingly inevitable, says the International Energy Agency, but it’s not happening fast enough for the world to reach net zero emissions by 2050. For that to happen, new coal power investments need to stop. And existing coal industries need to be rapidly phased out.
Quitting coal need not end in economic crisis, nor energy shortages. Not quitting coal will certainly end in climate—and therefore economic—disaster.
Researchers have systematically reviewed the policies of nations well down the path of transitioning away from coal, providing guidance on what works.
Be proactive, collaborate and break down silos
Governments quitting coal in a rapid and orderly manner have commonly employed a proactive, collaborative and well-coordinated mix of demand and supply-side policies.
Key demand-side policy levers include carbon pricing mechanisms; reducing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency.