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The State of Global Coal Power: Proposed New Capacity and Power Sector Deep Decarbonization - A summary for policymakers

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As the world moves forward in the shared mission to stabilize our climate by reducing carbon emissions, this report by the Center for Global Sustainability (CGS) and Bloomberg Philanthropies concludes that over 1300GW of coal-fired electric power capacity must be rapidly retired to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. This coupled with a dramatic reduction in plans to construct new coal power plants will give the world a chance to limit global temperature increase to well below 2°C. 

While coal power construction is slowing, driven by smart policies and the growing investment in renewable energy, there are still large amounts of existing and planned growth that will prevent the achievement of our goals.

CGS has assessed the current trends of global coal power development and how these trajectories will affect national and global goals. Key findings include:

  • Despite declining coal trends in some parts of the world, coal power is still growing globally and in many key countries. By 2030, total global emissions from coal production could increase by nearly 10% from current levels.
  • Reversing coal expansion creates a window to collectively reach NDC targets. The equivalent of 3.0 GtCO2e in greenhouse gas emissions can be avoided if countries cancel proposed coal projects that are currently in early development stages.
  • Countries must accelerate the retirement of existing coal capacity to limit warming to below 2°C.

Visit stateofglobalcoal.org for the full report, snapshot, and data updates.


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School Authors: Nathan Hultman, Leon Clarke, Christina Bowman, Morgan Edwards, Yiyun 'Ryna' Cui

Other Authors: Carla Frisch, Kevin Kennedy, Paul Bodnar, Pete Hansel, Tom Cyrs, Michelle Manion, Jessie Lund, Joel Jaeger, Andrew Clapper, Arijit Sen, Devashree Saha, Michael Westphal, Wendy Jaglom , Juan Carlos Altamirano, Maggie Dennis, Kareem Hammoud, Christopher Henderson, John O'Neill, Emily Goldfield