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Boom and Bust 2022: Tracking the collapse of coal power

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Coal Power Station, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, Europ
Coal Power Station, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, Europe. Photo by Ana Gram on Adobe Photo Stock.

To limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C, or well below 2°C, the world needs to rapidly phase out coal capacity and halt any new coal-fired power projects, according to studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and International Energy Agency (IEA). This report shows that the global coal plant capacity under development decreased since 2021, but steeper cuts are necessary to achieve goals set by the Paris Agreement in 2015.

After a slight increase in 2020 for the first time since 2015, total coal power capacity under development declined 13% last year, from 525 GW to 457 GW, a record low. There are still 34 countries with new coal plants under consideration, down from 41 countries in January 2021. China, South Korea, and Japan notably pledged to stop funding new coal plants in other countries. However, China continued to build new coal plants domestically, commissioning more coal capacity than the rest of the world combined. 

Key findings:  

  1. Globally, more than half (56%) of the 45 GW of newly commissioned capacity was in China. Outside China, the global coal fleet shrank for the fourth year in a row, although at a slower rate than in 2020.  
  2. There has been a 77% fall in coal plant capacity in pre-construction since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. 
  3. Newly commissioned capacity in China (25.2 GW) nearly offset coal plant retirements in the rest of the world (25.6 GW). 

Leo Roberts and Oyku Senlen from E3G contributed to this report produced by the Global Energy Monitor, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC), Kiko Network, CAN Europe, Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment, Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, and Waterkeepers Bangladesh. 

Explore the full report here.  

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