The global pipeline of proposed coal power plants collapsed by 76%, or 1,175 gigawatts (GW), since the Paris Agreement in 2015 as a result of accelerating market trends combined with new government policies and civil society's opposition to coal, according to a new report from climate think tanks late Monday.
The ‘No New Coal by 2021’ report by E3G in partnership with Ember and Global Energy Monitor found that with coal cancellations the world has avoided a 56% expansion of the total global fleet as of June 2021, which would have been equivalent to adding a second China, or 1,047 GW, to global coal capacity.
A total of 44 governments, 27 in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the EU and 17 elsewhere have already committed to no new coal since 2015. A further 40 countries, eight in the OECD and EU, and 32 elsewhere are without any projects in the pre-construction pipeline and are in a position where they could commit to no new coal, the report said.
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for no new coal by 2021 while COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma called for consigning coal to history ahead of the COP26 summit that will take between Nov. 1 and 12 in Glasgow.
China and the countries with the next five biggest pre-construction pipelines, including India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Turkey and Bangladesh, accounted for over four-fifths of the world's remaining pipeline as of July 2021, the report found.
'Action by these six countries could remove 82% of the pre-construction pipeline. The remaining pre-construction pipeline is spread across a further 31 countries, 16 of which have just one project. These countries could follow global momentum and many of their regional peers in ending their pursuit of new coal-fired power generation,' it said in the report.
Around 56% of the operating coal capacity in the OECD and EU either closed since 2010 or is scheduled to close by 2030, as the pipeline of coal power plants in these countries has collapsed by 85% since 2015.
The remaining proposed projects in the OECD and EU countries make up 6% of the global pre-construction coal pipeline, the report said, adding that Australia, Colombia, Mexico, Poland and Turkey are under pressure to follow the trend.
The pre-construction pipeline of coal plants has dropped by 77% since 2015 among non-OECD countries excluding China.
A total of 27 countries ended the development of new coal power generation through project cancellations or policy commitments, the report found.
While non-OCED countries are home to 39% of the remaining global pre-construction pipeline, 80% of these are located in nine countries.
The report showed that China alone accounted for almost 53% of the coal capacity under construction and 55% of the pre-construction pipeline. However, the country saw a 74% decline in the scale of its project pipeline with 484 gigawatts of cancellations since the Paris Agreement.
The report said that China is also the last remaining major provider of public finance for overseas coal projects following Japan and South Korea's recent commitments to end coal financing.
'An end to Chinese finance would facilitate the cancellation of over 40 GW of pipeline projects in 20 countries,' the report said.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya