CO2 emissions from power sector fell 2% globally last year: Report

New Delhi (NVI): Due to reduced coal usage in Europe and the United States, global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the power sector fell by 2 per cent last year, the biggest fall since at least 1990, a new study showed.

According to the research by independent climate think tank Ember, coal-fired power generation fell by 3 per cent globally, also the largest fall since 1990.

The drop in Europe was 24 per cent, driven by a switch to renewables, while US coal-fired generation was down 16 per cent because of more competitive gas, according to the study.

However, China bucked the trend with a rise as it became responsible for half of the global coal-fired power generation.

Overall, the decline in coal use last year and shift toward renewables was helped by factors such as cheap gas, nuclear plant restarts in Japan and South Korea and slowing electricity demand, the report said.

Coal generation needs to fall by 11 per cent a year to keep within a warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Lead author of the report and electricity analyst at Ember Dave Jones said that the global decline of coal and power sector emissions is good news for the climate, but governments have to dramatically accelerate the electricity transition so that global coal generation collapses throughout the 2020s.

“To switch from coal into gas is just swapping one fossil fuel for another,” he added.

Wind and solar power generation rose by 270 terrawatt hours, or 15 per cent, last year. That growth rate would need to be maintained every year to achieve climate goals under the Paris Agreement.

The report examined data covering 85 per cent of the world’s electricity generation and used informed estimates for the remaining 15 per cent.

Last month the International Energy Agency said that global CO2 emissions from power production flattened last year as the growth of renewable energy and fuel switching from coal to natural gas led to lower emissions from advanced economies.