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Pledges to phase out coal power are insufficient to reach climate target

A paper in Nature Climate Change, co-authored by an IIIEE researcher, alumna and student, shows that pledges to phase out coal are so far largely limited to older plants in richer countries.
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Reaching climate targets requires phasing out coal power without carbon capture and storage, as pledged by the members of Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA). Prof. Aleh Cherp and his co-authors show that these pledges primarily relate to older power plants at the end of their lifetimes and thus will only have a small climate effect in the range of 0.7% of emissions from the already operating power plants worldwide. 

The paper also investigates the prospect of major coal consuming countries joining the PPCA. It finds that PPCA members extract and use less coal and have older power plants, but this alone does not fully explain their pledges to phase out coal power.

The members of the alliance are also wealthier and have more transparent and independent governments. Thus, what sets them aside from major coal consumers, such as China and India, are both lower costs of coal phase-out and a higher capacity to bear these costs. 

Read the full article here: Prospects for powering past coal

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