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Steep fall in carbon output from power firms

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Last year's fall in coal-fired power was the largest since 1990, when the International Agency began reported figures (stock photo)

Last year's fall in coal-fired power was the largest since 1990, when the International Agency began reported figures (stock photo)

Last year's fall in coal-fired power was the largest since 1990, when the International Agency began reported figures (stock photo)

Carbon emissions generated by the global power sector fell at the fastest rate in at least 30 years as electricity companies turned their backs on coal, analysis suggests.

Coal-fuelled electricity declined 3% in 2019, leading to a 2% fall in the power sector's carbon dioxide emissions, according to climate think tank Ember. But the report's authors said a shift away from fossil fuels was not yet "the new normal" and warned governments must "dramatically accelerate" the transition to sustainable energy sources to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

Last year's fall in coal-fired power was the largest since 1990, when the International Agency began reported figures, and was driven in part by a switch to renewables in Europe and more competitive gas pricing in the US. Coal generated 24% less electricity in Europe and 16% in the US.

Nuclear plant restarts in Japan and South Korea also slowed demand for coal, according to Ember. But China bucked the trend by increasing its coal usage by 2%.

Ember's Dave Jones, lead author of the report, said: "The global decline of coal and power sector emissions is good news, but governments have to dramatically accelerate the electricity transition so that global coal generation collapses throughout the 2020s."

Belfast Telegraph