The new IEA special report | Coal in Net Zero Transitions: Strategies for Rapid, Secure and People-Centred Change

IEA (International Energy Agency) Coal in Net Zero Transitions: Strategies for Rapid, Secure and People-Centred Change, in its new report in the World Energy Outlook series; emphasizes that the growth rate of solar and wind energy is vital, but it is not enough alone.


Coal and its emissions are critical in tackling both the global energy crisis and the climate crisis. This report provides guidance on how countries can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal. It also addresses investment and financing needs, recognizing the importance of providing reliable and affordable energy sources and tackling the social consequences of change.

According to the IEA special report, in order to avoid the serious effects of climate change, the Earth’s carbon dioxide emissions from coal need to be reduced rapidly. Accordingly, large financings should be set into motion in clean energy sources alternative to coal.

The special report which is part of the World Energy Outlook series notes that; the vast majority of current global coal consumption is in countries committed to achieving net-zero emissions. Accordingly, global coal demand has not decreased but has remained close to record levels in the last decade. If nothing is done, emissions from current coal consumption will exceed the 1.5°C limit in the world.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol;  IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said: “More than 95% of the world’s coal consumption takes place in countries committed to reducing their emissions to net zero.”  “But while there is encouraging momentum in many governments’ policy responses to the current energy crisis to expand clean energy, one big unresolved issue is how to deal with the huge amount of coal assets available worldwide” he added.

Fatih Birol also said, “Coal is both the largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions and the largest source of electricity generation worldwide; this highlights the damage it is doing to our climate and the great challenge of changing it applicable while ensuring energy security.” “Our new report sets out viable options that are clear for governments to tackle this critical challenge cost-effectively and fairly.”


The report reveals that there is no single approach to reducing coal emissions, highlighting countries with high coal dependence and where the transition may be the most challenging. These countries are; Indonesia, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, India and South Africa.

There are about 9,000 coal-fired power plants worldwide with a capacity of 2,185 gW. Age profiles vary by an average of 40 years in the United States and up to under 15 in emerging economies in Asia. This report states that coal-fired industrial plants are long-lasting and that investment decisions in this decade will greatly shape the outlook for coal use in heavy industry.

According to the report, the most important way to reduce the use of coal for energy and reduce emissions from existing assets is to greatly increase the sources of clean energy production.

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