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If the European Union is going to meet its Paris Agreement long-term temperature goals, then it needs to phase out all its coal plants by 2030 or it runs the risk of overshooting, according to a new report from Climate Analytics.

Coal

Europe Needs To Shutter All Coal By 2030 Or Risk Missing Paris Agreement Goals

If the European Union is going to meet its Paris Agreement long-term temperature goals, then it needs to phase out all its coal plants by 2030 or it runs the risk of overshooting, according to a new report from Climate Analytics.

If the European Union is going to meet its Paris Agreement long-term temperature goals, then it needs to phase out all its coal plants by 2030 or it runs the risk of overshooting, according to a new report from Climate Analytics.

Climate Analytics, a non-profit climate science and policy research institute, published its new report at an event in Brussels on Thursday. The new report, A stress test for coal in Europe under the Paris Agreement, sets out the first science-based analysis of when and where each of the over 300 coal power plants across the European Union needs to be phased out so as not to overshoot the Paris Agreement goals.

The authors of the report start by explaining that the defined goal of the Paris Agreement — of holding temperature increases “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels” — “requires a rapid decarbonisation of the global power sector and the phase-out of the last unabated coal-fired power plant in the EU by around 2030.” Specifically, Climate Analytics has calculated that if the European Union is to remain within the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature limits of “well below” 2°C then the EU’s CO2 emissions budget for coal in the power sector needs to be around 6.5 Gigatonnes by 2050.

However, if business as usual continues, then the EU’s CO2 emissions budget will exceed its goals by 85% by 2050.

“Not only would existing coal plants exceed the EU’s emissions budget, but the eleven planned and announced plants would raise EU emissions to almost twice the levels required to keep warming to the Paris Agreement’s long term temperature goal,” said Dr Michiel Schaeffer, Climate Analytics Science Director.

In fact, the report shows that coal emissions need to be close to zero by 2030 — 95% by 2030, and 100% by 2031 — with a quarter of the EU’s current coal capacity shuttered by 2020, and 47% closed by 2025.

“We find the cheapest way for the EU to make the emissions cuts required to meet its Paris Agreement commitments is to phase out coal from the electricity sector, and replace this capacity with renewables and energy efficiency measures,” said Paola Yanguas Parra, a lead author of the report.

“Germany and Poland have the most work to do on a coal phase-out: they are jointly responsible for 51% of installed coal capacity and 54% of emissions from coal.”

As seen in the image above, the report provides two possible pathways for the EU to achieve a complete phase-out of coal; the market perspective, “where the economic value of the plant is prioritised over its emissions intensity,” and the ‘regulator’ perspective, “where plants with the highest emissions intensity are phased out first.”

“It is remarkable that for 25 years the European Union has led the way globally on climate change policy, be it in mitigation or adaptation, the legal structures of international agreements, or financing actions in developing countries. Its next big challenge is to lead the way on meeting the 1.5°C limit, holding warming “well below 2°C” as agreed in Paris,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics.

“This new and innovative plant-by-plant analysis shows that one of the biggest challenges for Europe will be the phase-out of coal fired-power emissions by 2030. For any country, in any region, and at any time this would be a major challenge, both economically and politically.”

“However, the EU already has many of the key policy instruments in place, including those required for fair and just transition strategies. The challenge now is for Europe to capitalise on its massive investments in climate policy, seize the opportunities created by a coal phase out, and use its institutions to ensure all regions benefit from this.”

 
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I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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