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Carbon emissions from global power sector mark biggest fall in almost 30 years

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World Coal,

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the power sector fell by 2% in 2019, the biggest fall since at least 1990. This is due to reduced coal usage in Europe and the US, according to a recent study by independent climate think tank Ember.

Coal-fired power generation fell by 3% globally, also the largest fall since 1990, research by Ember showed. The drop in Europe was 24%, driven by a switch to renewables, while US coal-fired generation was down 16% because of more competitive gas. However, China bucked the trend with a rise as it became responsible for 50% of global coal-fired power generation. Overall, the decline in coal use in 2019 and shift towards 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 need to fall by 11%/y to keep within a warming limit of 1.5°C.

“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,” said Dave Jones, lead author of the report and electricity analyst at Ember. “To switch from coal into gas is just swapping one fossil fuel for another.”

The International Energy Agency has recently said that global CO2 emissions from power production flattened in 2019 as growth of renewable energy and fuel switching from coal to natural gas led to lower emissions from advanced economies.

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