IEA head: The world isn't moving fast enough on clean energy


If we wish to deal with local weather change and guarantee individuals’s well being and well-being, we now have to speed up our transfer away from coal.

Ending our dependence on coal will save lives. Air pollution — to which coal contributes considerably — causes 400,000 premature deaths a 12 months within the EU alone, and 5% to 10% of all annual untimely deaths within the United States. Coal dependence can be a drag on financial progress and more and more pricey for customers. In truth, the price of renewable energy continues to fall, and in some areas, solar is among the most cost-effective types of energy.
While the phase-out of coal is choosing up pace, coal nonetheless produces near 40% of global electricity. And that quantity may rise additional in some international locations, because the short-term prices of coal power can nonetheless be decrease than transitioning to inexperienced vitality. One vital solution to shift this dynamic is to finish the tax breaks, authorities funding, abroad assist and subsidies — a few of which the general public is paying — that preserve coal on life help.
The United States and the European Union could be leaders on this shift. Earlier this 12 months, the EU introduced its help for an finish to fossil fuel subsidies globally. And the European Investment Bank has already stated that it will not fund any fossil gas vitality tasks after this 12 months, directing all of its work towards clear vitality innovation. Today, 15 European international locations have dedicated to utterly phasing out coal power, and three have already develop into coal power-free.
The United States has made huge strides as properly. In the final decade, 60% of US coal plants have closed, and coal’s share of US electricity generation fell from 46% in 2010 to an estimated 20% in 2019. Coal plant closures have continued to speed up as a result of economics clearly favor clear vitality, and the general public more and more calls for energy sources that do not poison our air and threaten our well being. President Biden has additionally indicated that he intends to finish abroad improvement assist for fossil fuel projects.

But extra can and have to be achieved.

Other international locations, similar to China, proceed to finance many coal projects abroad. To persuade them to cease, the EU and the United States should lead by instance. Together, they will present extra help to areas in Africa and Latin America, which might allow international locations there to leapfrog over outdated fossil gas tasks and use clear energy to deliver common entry to electrical energy as a substitute.
IEA head: The world isn't moving fast enough on clean energyIEA head: The world isn't moving fast enough on clean energy
The EU and the United States also needs to present extra help for communities and regional economies that depend upon jobs in fossil gas industries, specifically coal, and are attempting to transition staff into new industries and roles. The EU’s Just Transition Fund is working to try this in member states and in coal areas past its borders within the Western Balkans and Ukraine. Bloomberg Philanthropies equally has supported work in coal regions within the EU and within the United States, together with job coaching and offering alternatives in clear vitality industries. The extra we do to assist coal areas, the much less communities will undergo, and the extra political help there will be to step away from coal towards a thriving inexperienced enterprise mannequin.

Making the transition to a inexperienced economic system will require main new investments, but it surely will additionally result in extra new jobs, higher well being and stronger, extra sustainable financial progress. On the opposite hand, the prices of non-action, usually ignored, are a lot greater: Continued reliance on coal will result in extra poisonous air pollution, extra dying and illness, extra extinction and biodiversity loss, extra financial harm from excessive and unpredictable climate and extra misplaced floor within the combat in opposition to the local weather disaster. To cease such catastrophic outcomes, and to enhance individuals’s well being and well-being, it is crucial that the EU and US lead a united entrance in shifting the world past coal — not for the sake of the planet, however for the sake of humanity.

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