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How Will the World Transition from Coal to Clean Energy?

The latest climate science paints a clear picture: the world is massively off track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C and avoid the worst impacts of climate change

Reaching this goal is still possible, but only if the world reaches net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by mid-century

Net-zero commitments have gained traction in the past few years. The COP26 climate summit at the end of 2021 brought further optimism, with 81 countries, hundreds of companies and over a thousand cities communicating net-zero commitments by the close of the summit. However, many of these commitments have come under scrutiny over concerns that they lack credibility and accountability

This year, leaders across sectors must back up their commitments with strong actions

One of the big questions is what G20 countries — which represent 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions — will do to make progress on their goals ahead of COP27, including whether China will strengthen their 2030 climate commitments and whether the United States will enact the Build Back Better Act. Additionally, this year will bear witness to whether more companies make net-zero commitments and financial institutions slash finance for fossil fuels

The energy sector, particularly its current reliance on coal, will be a determining factor in the world’s ability to achieve net-zero by mid-century. Coal causes 40% of global CO2 emissions, making it the world’s largest source of CO2 emissions

While it’s clear that the world must move away from coal, this is not a simple task. Coal is responsible for 25% of global energy, primarily for electricity, and energy demand has increased significantly over the past decade

At the same time, nearly 760 million people around the world still lack access to electricity, so demand is likely to continue growing. Additionally, 7 million workers globally work with coal and will be impacted by the clean energy transition. Ensuring these workers have training and are supported as coal declines will be essential

2022 will help reveal whether the world will continue to transition from coal to clean energy. Critically, this year will reveal if countries will follow through on their commitments to end coal finance, including the 39 countries that committed to the clean energy transition at COP26

This year will also show whether finance for clean energy will increase, whether investments in the electrical grid will ensure a smooth transition and whether workers will be supported in the clean energy transition

Are you looking for positive action from leaders in 2022?

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