Eliminating Coal Power is 29% the Battle
On the eve of the UN Climate Summit today, the Climate Action Tracker(CAT) released an update with their latest projection: that the earth will warm 3.7 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.
Fossil fuel emissions presently produce about 40% of global CO2 emissions, the largest portion of which is from the electricity sector. Unfortunately, coal use is on the rise and one of the largest sources of recent increases in carbon emissions.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that according to CAT, if we get rid of coal by 2050, it could bring down global warming by .5 degrees Celsius.
So what? .5 degrees seems tiny.
Well back in 2009, the Copenhagen Accord recognized “the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius,” to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” If we can phase out coal by the year 2050, we will be 29% of the way to that target. It is also worth noting that in 2010, 24% of mercury emissions were caused by coal plants, which is screwing up the ocean.
This phasing-out of coal calculation does rely on the replacement of coal with a renewable energy source. CAT examined whether switching from coal to gas would have any effect; this tactic is only projected to mitigate 25-45% of the carbon emissions that could be eliminated with a change to renewable resources.
I look forward to the results of the summit, though pretty resolutions aren’t enough to affect change on their own- we also need to
harass write to our elected officials and ask them to keep to these resolutions.
Source: Climate Action Tracker Briefing