Report launch

Phasing out unabated coal in the power sector

Reducing global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net zero by 2050 is necessary to limit the long‐term increase in average global temperatures to 1.5 °C. Today, coal-fired power generation is the largest single source of CO2 emissions. Therefore, tackling emissions from this sector is critical to achieving our goal.

National governments, subnational jurisdictions, coalitions and many large corporations have announced coal phase-out pledges and net-zero targets. Ahead of COP 26 in November 2021, Unabated coal phase out: current studies and three case studies gathers all known national commitments to eventually stop using unabated coal-fired power generation announced to date and assesses their impact in terms of reducing emissions.

In addition, the report analyses three jurisdictions in detail to extract recommendation. First, an early example of coal phase-out commitment and execution from the Canadian province of Ontario. Second, the case of the United Kingdom, where the industrial revolution started but which was one of the first countries to decide to phase out coal. Finally, Germany, where phasing out is particularly complex because it is the largest coal-fired power generator among those committing to a phase-out and has thousands of jobs that rely on lignite mining. This paper acknowledges that each country must tailor its approach based on its own specific circumstances, but that nonetheless there are instructive experiences from other jurisdictions undertaking similar measures.