Is the world ready to end the age of coal and embrace clean energy?
Coal is losing power
Access to electricity has transformed the world by developing their economies and lifting millions out of poverty. However, this success has come at a high cost. The energy sector is dependent on fossil fuels, is responsible for about 40% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. They are one of the so-called greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and warm the Earth.
Despite the UN calling for an end to fossil fuels, many new coal-fired power plants are under construction; and dozens more are in the works. Is the world ready for a new era of clean, cheap, and accessible energy for all?
Tax carbon and our carbon addiction
The UN is increasing pressure on countries to stop relying on coal.
The UN chief has called for carbon taxes to be imposed, for trillion-dollar subsidies for fossil fuels to end. Also for the construction of coal-fired power plants to stop by 2020, if we want to have one. Possibility of ending the climate crisis.
Many countries, mainly developed economies, are beginning to hear the message of the UN. Yet Southeast Asia, one of the fastest-growing economic regions globally, consider fossil fuels as the answer to its energy needs. In November, Guterres told a meeting of the Association of Southeast Nations Asian in Thailand that coal “remains a major threat to climate change.” Adding that Southeast Asian countries are some of the most vulnerable to this phenomenon.
Asian development continues are getting fuel from coal
According to studies by the International Energy Agency, the region may become a key driver of global energy trends in the next 20 years. Millions of people in Southeast Asia have access to electricity since 2000. And the region is on track to achieve universal access by 2030.
UN-backed Sustainable Energy for All has compiled data showing that the region has the third-highest number of coal-fired power plants after China and India. Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines have the broadest coal plant portfolio of any country in Southeast Asia, Malaysia, and Thailand, not far behind.
Richer Asian countries are also financing coal beyond their borders: State financing agencies in China, Japan, and South Korea are now, respectively, the largest sources of financing for coal plants in other countries: Research shows that China was the largest international source of funding for coal, committing more than $ 1.7 billion between 2015 and 2016.
Coal is losing power
However, the world is slowly moving in the right direction, and the number of plants currently are decreasing. The number of permits for new coal plants are reducing to record lows. With more than a thousand canceled, reflecting a harsher economic climate for coal plant developers and the growing consensus on the need to limit global warming and protect human health.
At the Climate Action Summit in September 2019, four years after the Paris Agreement, countries pledged to step up efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial temperatures and boost funding for climate action. Many nations announced measures to combat the climate crisis, including limiting the amount of electricity produced from coal sources.
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