The noticeable absence and lack of urgency and support of major coal power generation companies has resulted in a less than auspicious start to COP26’s Global Coal to Clean Power Transition initiative, says data analytics and consulting company GlobalData senior oil and gas analyst Effuah Alleyne.
The initiative, aimed at addressing critical carbon emissions directives, addresses scaling clean power generation, energy efficiencies, technologies and policies that support the transition by the 2030s to 2040s, ceasing new permits and direct government support for those projects, as well as strengthening supportive domestic and international frameworks, Alleyne explains.
“Major coal producers – including China, India, the US and Japan – have not signed the agreement. In 2020, these countries collectively accounted for over 75% of the cumulative coal capacity globally, with China alone responsible for roughly 50%.
“While Vietnam, Indonesia and G7 members such as Canada, Germany, Italy and the UK are among those that pledged support, they represent a minor driver for significant change.”
She adds that China’s coal sector is “miles ahead of other key countries” and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.75% between 2020 and 2030.
India’s coal sector, too, will grow at a CAGR of 1.78% during the same period.
The US, meanwhile, is reducing, but not to a significant degree, its coal production, Alleyne laments, adding that countries such as China and India tout affordability of coal and the stability of renewable options as reasons for continued use as the social and environmental costs mount, while the US needs to overcome the political hurdle that stems from coal-related employment.
“Additionally, carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, which provides a solution for carbon dioxide emissions, has high capital costs from industrial units and is becoming a major deterrent for deploying CCS,” Alleyne comments.
She says the Global Coal to Clean Power Transition initiative will “have to persevere through multiple obstacles and aggressive action needs to be taken if we are to see a noteworthy change by 2030”.