A Long Long Way.
At Glasgow's COP26 conference last year, the leaders of 40 nations went though the meaningless biannual ritual of agreeing to phase coal out of their national energy policies in order to achieve the pointless and economically catastrophic for developed nations ambition of reaching 'net zero' on carbon emissions by the end of this century.
However, as Visual Capitalist's Bruno Venditti details below, despite all the grandiose pledges, in 2021 coal-fired electricity generation reached all-time highs globally, showing that eliminating coal from the energy mix is easily said but cannot be done simply by moving coal burning industries from the developed nations to emerging and third world economies.
The infographic below, from Elements Visual Capitalists shows the aggressive phase-out of coal power that would be required in order to reach net zero goals by 2050, based on an analysis by Ember that uses data provided by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Low-Cost Energy Carries a High Environmental Cost
Coal-powered electricity production increased by 9.0% in 2021 to 10,042 Terawatt-hours (TWh), the biggest percentage rise since 1985.
reason for this reserugence of dear reliable Old King Coal is cost. Coal is the world’s most affordable energy fuel due to the energy intensity of this highly compressed form of carbon. Environmentalist doom mongers and the unwashed crusties of the anti fossil fuel movement claim that low-cost energy comes at a high cost for the environment,
with coal being the largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions. This is unscientific bollocks. In the past coal was a cheap, dirty fuel that pumped many real pollutants as well as Carbon Dioxide (CO2) which is essential to the continuance of life, into the atmosphere.Throughout the 1970s and 80s however, coal powered industried cleaned up their act, introducing technologies to remove various pollutants from their emissions until only CO2, the essential building material for all carbon based life forms (and ALL life forms, on this planet at least, are carbon based,) remained for the habitual whingers and virtue signallers to whinge and virtue signal about.
China currently has the highest coal consumption, making up 54% of the world’s coal electricity generation. The country’s consumption jumped 12% between 2010 and 2020, despite coal making up a lower percentage of the country’s energy mix in relative terms and the ruling Chinese Communist Party has no plans to cease or slow down its building onf new coal fired power stations.
Together, China and India account for 66% of global coal consumption and emit about 35% of the world’s greenhouse gasses (GHG). If you add the United States to the mix, this goes up to 72% of coal consumption and 49% of GHGs.
According to the United Nations,
emissions from current and planned fossil energy infrastructure are
already more than twice the amount that would push the planet over 1.5°C
of global heating, a level that scientists say could bring more intense
heat, fire, storms, flooding, and drought than the present 1.2°C. This is calculated by scientists who, in the style of all modern science, look at output from mathematical models rather than empirical evidence. So far three decades worth of predictions based on mathematical models of reality have not produced one correct result.
The Transition to Renewables
According to The Science (that is the science of guesswork and wishful thinking,) Coal-powered
electricity generation must fall by 13% every year until 2030 to
achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals of keeping global heating to only
To reach the mark, countries would need to speed up the shift from their current carbon-intensive pathways to unreliable and intermittent energy sources like wind and solar.
How fast the transition away
from coal will be achieved depends on a complicated balance between
carbon emissions cuts and maintaining economic growth, the latter of
which is still largely dependent on coal power. It is possible of course that as a result of the energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine revealing just how dependent of fossil fuels the developed nations are, the politicians will come to their senses, sack their idiotic science advisers and fund development of clean coal powered generation technologies as well as returning to totally CO2 free, (but equally hated by the green wankers,) nuclear.