World burnt more coal when it needed to cut emissions: Report
Amid rising global need for phasing out burning of coal, it has been found that the global capacity to burn coal has actually increased. According to a Global Energy Monitor report, the coal fleet grew by 19.5 gigawatts in the year 2022. Nearly all new coal projects were in China.
Global Energy Monitor is an organisation tracks a variety of energy products around the globe.
That 1 per cent increase comes at a time when the world needs to retire its coal fleet four and a half times faster to meet climate goals, the report said.
In 2021, countries around the world promised to phase down the use of coal to help achieve the goal to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit).
"The more new coal projects come online, the steeper the cuts and commitments need to be in the future,? said Flora Champenois, the report's lead author and the project manager for GEM's Global Coal Plant Tracker.
The report says that new coal plants were added in 14 countries around the world. Eight countries announced new coal projects. China, India, Indonesia, Turkey and Zimbabwe were the only countries that both added new coal plants and announced new projects.
China accounted for 92 per cent of all new coal project announcements.
China and India added about 26.8 and 3.5 gigawatts of new coal power capacity to their electricity grids. In China, nearly 100 gigawatts of new coal power projects got a go ahead. Construction is likely to begin this year.
But "the long term trajectory is still towards clean energy," said Shantanu Srivastava, an energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis who is based in New Delhi. Srivastava was quoted by the Associated Press.
Srivastava said the pandemic and the war in Ukraine temporarily drove some nations toward fossil fuels.
In Europe, where the Russian invasion of Ukraine meant a scramble for alternative energy sources and droughts stifled hydropower, the continent only saw a very minor increase in coal use.
Others went the other way. There were significant shutdowns in the US where 13.5 gigawatts of coal power was retired. It's one of 17 countries that closed up plants in the past year.
With nearly 2,500 plants around the world, coal accounts for about a third of the total amount of energy installation globally. Other fossil fuels, nuclear energy and renewable energy make up the rest.