Phasing out coal-fired power plants in the EU
Burning coal for energy damages the climate and the environment. This project provides the outlines for a science-based plan to phase out coal from the EU energy mix. The aim is to inform investors, policymakers and civil society about the consequences of the Paris Agreement for Europe’s coal industry, thereby raising awareness of the urgency to phase out coal in Europe.
The Paris Agreement set as a goal to keep global warming well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. To achieve this, global greenhouse gas emissions must be brought down to zero in the second half of this century.
Meeting these goals requires a rapid phase out of coal – at the latest, by mid-century globally and by 2030 in the EU. The existing coal-fired power plants combined with those either planned or under construction are inconsistent with these goals, but the current debate on coal phase-out has not yet been translated into a clear exit strategy. This is both the starting point and the end point for this project: To deliver the knowledge necessary for this strategy to be formulated and carried out, resulting in the phase-out of coal power in Europe in time to avoid dangerous climate change.
Climate Analytics is a non-profit climate science and policy institute with a mission to support science-based policies to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable development. Through this project, Climate Analytics delivers an analysis which:
- Defines coal-related emissions pathways consistent with staying within the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal of “well below” 2°C and “pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C”
- Delivers a detailed breakdown of coal-fired power plants and coal-related emissions within the EU
- Showcases two phase-out schedules compatible with the Paris Agreement; one prioritising the shut-down of the most carbon-intensive plants first, and one keeping plants with the highest economic value online as long as possible.