The other day we discussed an IEA report that said if we want to avoid rising temperatures of more than 2 degrees Celsius, two-thirds of already proven fossil fuel reserves will have to stay in the ground. Well, that information has not gone very far, because new research from the World Resources Institute has shown that well over 1,000 coal-fired power plants are planned for construction worldwide.
These plans are coming despite warnings from scientists, politicians, and campaigners who warn of the crucial importance of cutting carbon emissions if we want to avoid disastrous effects of climate change such as drought, extreme heat, and rising sea levels.
According to Ailun Yang, who compiled the report, this is not in line with the safe climate scenario we need to be seeing. However, emission limits in the United States and voluntary caps on coal use in China could provide “strong signals” about the risks in a future with coal power. Three-quarters of the nearly 1,200 coal plants going up are in China and India.
The WRI report also found that even after the 2008 economic crash, global coal trade rose by 13% in 2010. Most of it has moved to China from Europe and the US, with some of the biggest imports now going to Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. Still, the top world importers of coal continue to be France, Germany, and the UK.
Of course there is still a chance that many of these coal-fired power plants will not go up as planned, which is what we have to hope and push for if we want to avoid a dangerous rise in the global climate. Do you think there will be much protest where these plants are going up, or will most of it continue to go down smoothly under the radar?
Image CC licensed by Doc Searls: Coal-fired power plant