European coal emissions must fall three times faster than current rates if the region is to stay in line with its climate goals, according to a new report.
The new study reveals the growing need for Europe to accelerate its transition away from coal and into a renewable energy future, if the region is to maintain its climate goals intended to help avoid seeing global warming surpass 2° above pre-industrial levels — the globally accepted global warming target. Specifically, based on models created by the International Energy Agency (IEA), European coal emissions must fall on average by 8% annually until 2040 — but emission levels are only falling by 2.3% each year over the last nine years.
The report, End of an Era: Why Every European Country Needs a Coal Phase-Out Plan, was commissioned by Greenpeace UK and Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, and written by experts from Sandbag and CAN Europe, draws its conclusions from the results of a year-long survey mapping all coal power stations in Europe. The newly-finished database provides up-to-date CO2 emissions reports from all the coal-fired power stations, as well as a wealth of information including commissioning dates, MW capacity, fuel type, and announced closure dates.
The database currently maps 280 coal power plants throughout Europe, all of which produce a cumulative 18% of the region’s total greenhouse gas emissions. 66% of those power plants had been in service for 30 years or more, but are still creating CO2 emissions totaling 762 megatonnes in 2014 — down from 934 megatonnes in 2005, equaling an average decrease of 2.3% per year over that period.
“The verdict from our report is very clear: when it comes to coal emissions there can be no room for complacency,” said Greenpeace UK energy campaigner. “Unless Europe’s leaders take action to phase out the dirtiest fossil fuel, their creaking, polluting coal plants risk derailing the bloc’s efforts to stave off dangerous climate change. The clean technologies that can replace coal are getting cheaper and more efficient every year, whilst the impacts of coal on our health and climate have never been clearer. There are no excuses left for Europe not to kick its coal addiction for good.”
“From Alberta in Canada to Finland and the UK, the leaders of advanced economies are already showing that it’s possible to put an expiry date on the age of coal,” said Wendel Trio, CAN Europe Director. “We now need a strong deal coming out of the Paris summit to give fresh impetus to a EU-wide clampdown on coal emissions. Phasing out coal is the easiest way for the EU to increase its climate ambitions.”
The full report is available here (PDF)
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