Coal power has long been damaging the environment but a post-pandemic recovery plan may finally see its downfall.
Used for centuries, the burning of coal has continued to pollute Earth’s air and has been linked to causing asthma and cancer.
While the world has slowly been trying to ween itself off using coal as a source of power, a post-pandemic action plan is hoping to see governments invest millions into green energy.
The pandemic has had some positive affects on the environment, particularly in regards to air pollution, but the pandemic alone will not solve the issue of coal power. However, the International Energy Agency (IEA) is confident its post-covid recovery plan could.
Following an online summit yesterday, July 9, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged countries to stop financing the coal industry stating that ‘coal has no place in COVID-19 recovery plans.’
The summit saw 40 government ministers virtually attend. The aim is to reduce global emissions all while trying to boost the economy after COVID-19’s detrimental effects.
There’s concern that there will be the same problem that followed 2008’s global financial crisis where governments failed to prioritise investing in climate change which later saw CO2 emissions surge again.
Guterres commended some countries for committing to green energy recovery plans, but highlighted that many has missed the point.
As per CNN, he said:
Some countries have used stimulus plans to prop up oil and gas companies that were already struggling financially. Others have chosen to jumpstart coal-fired power plants that don’t make financial or environmental sense.
[…] We can invest in fossil fuels whose markets are volatile and whose emissions lead to lethal air pollution, or we can invest in renewable energy which is reliable, clean and economically smart.
The IEA created a blueprint for what needs to be done to help the environment last month where it called on governments to invest $3 trillion.
The IEA believes that by doing things such as overhauling electricity grids and upgrading hydropower facilities could see a 4.5 billion tonne cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2023.
The blueprint called for governments to focus on six key industries: electricity; transportation; buildings; industry; fuels and technology innovation.
As well as this helping tackle climate change, the IEA says investing in green energy could create nine million jobs and boost global economic output by 1.1 percentage points each year.
Sounds like a win/win situation to me.
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