The majority of Americans want to see action on coal plant emissions, but despite this popular sentiment President Trump is planning to dismantling the Clean Power Plan, announcing this week he will try to “save the coal industry” through a series of government regulations. However, fresh data revealed this week suggests his efforts may be in vain – the number of planned coal plants have halved in a year, as renewable energy takes over, and many analysts point out that nothing Trump can do will save the ailing coal industry.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 21, 2017
- Public opinion and the free market is killing coal – there is very little that laggard governments can do to change this reality. Research by the Yale Climate Change Communications Center shows that 69 percent of Americans support strict curbs on emissions from coal-fired power plants and 82 percent support research into renewables. The Trump administration risks getting left behind – a new report shows that globally, the coal industry is in freefall, with plant pre-construction planning dropping by nearly half compared with 2015, and new construction falling even further; India and China are leading the way in the slowdown. In the US, many are saying that coal job prospects are weak, and it’s unlikely they’ll ever come back.
- Accelerating actions to quit coal and harness renewables, in line with the Paris Agreement, will create wealth and reduce risks. Decarbonising the economy in line with the international agreement on climate change could generate a massive $19 trillion for the global economy, according to a new report commissioned by German government that was delivered by the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency. Globally, energy-related fossil fuel emissions could be cut by 70 percent by 2050 and altogether ten years later, the report said, to avoid massive costs from climate impacts. On the flip side, trillions in oil and gas assets are at risk of being stranded if climate action is delayed.
- Reality tends to cut through political posturing – climate change impacts are biting so we need to quit coal to reduce the impacts as fast as possible. The Arctic is melting faster than ever, hitting a record winter low this week, and climate impacts in 2016 show another year of broken records, says the World Meteorological (WMO)’s latest State of the Climate report, which says last year was the warmest on record. The report doesn’t include newer studies such as one out last week saying the oceans recorded 13 percent more heat than previously estimated. In February this year, in the U.S.A. alone, 11,743 warm temperature records were broken or tied.
- Paris Accord Could Make the World $19 Trillion Richer (Bloomberg)
- Trump Lays Plans to Reverse Obama’s Climate Change Legacy (NY Times)
- Trump’s Words Could Jeopardize His Environmental Rollbacks, Too (Bloomberg)
- Trump says preparing new executive actions to save coal mining (Reuters)
- Compounding the Risk for Coal Miners (NY Times Editorial board)
- Coal in the Trump age: Industry has a pulse, but prospects for jobs are weak (Washington Post)
- CO2 emissions stay same for third year in row – despite global economy growing (The Guardian)
- The global coal boom finally seems to be winding down (Vox – David Roberts)
- China, India Led Slowdown in Coal Power Development, Study Says (Bloomberg)
- Beijing’s last coal plant suspends operations (Xinhuanet)
- Record-breaking climate change pushes world into ‘uncharted territory’ (The Guardian)
TOOLS & RESOURCES
- Press Release: Eliminating Energy-Related Carbon Emissions Possible, New IRENA Study Finds (IRENA)
- Press Release: Global Coal Plant Development Freefall Sparks Renewed Hope On Climate Goals (CoalSwarm)
- Report: Boom and Bust 2017: Tracking The Global Coal Plant Pipeline (CoalSwarm)
- Research: Yale Climate Opinion Maps – U.S. 2016 (Yale Program on Climate Communications)
- Press Release: State of the Global Climate (World Meteorological Organisation)
- “Critically, the economic case for the energy transition has never been stronger. Today around the world, new renewable power plants are being built that will generate electricity for less cost than fossil-fuel power plants. And through 2050, the decarbonisation can fuel sustainable economic growth and create more new jobs in renewables. We are in a good position to transform the global energy system but success will depend on urgent action, as delays will raise the costs of decarbonisation” – IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.
- “Coal’s demise is inevitable – there is no point waiting until the bitter end. We need to phase out coal at speed. Countries must get ahead of the game and put their phaseout ambitions into law. Governments should implement strict policies to retire their oldest and dirtiest coal plants first, and ensure appropriate support for workers moving on from the coal industry.” – Chief Executive of environmental lawyers group ClientEarth, James Thornton.
- “As we speak we are preparing new executive actions to save our coal industry and to save our wonderful coal miners from continuing to be put out of work. The miners are coming back” – US President Donald Trump.
- “Even without a strong El Niño in 2017, we are seeing other remarkable changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. We are now in truly uncharted territory” – World Climate Research Programme Director David Carlson.