Global coal demand reached an all-time high in 2022, and investment in coal is set to rise in 2023 to more than double the levels needed in 2030 to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
The oil and gas industry’s capital spending on low-emissions alternatives, such as clean electricity, clean fuels and carbon capture technologies, was less than 5 percent of its upstream spending in 2022.
The biggest shortfalls in clean energy investment are in emerging and developing economies. There are some bright spots, such as dynamic investments in solar in India and in renewables in Brazil and parts of the Middle East.
However, investment in many countries is being held back by factors, including higher interest rates, unclear policy frameworks and market designs, weak grid infrastructure, financially strained utilities, and a high cost of capital.
Much more needs to be done by the international community, especially to drive investment in lower-income economies, where the private sector has been reluctant to venture.
What does this mean for the climate?
The continued reliance on coal is a major threat to the climate. Coal is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and its continued use will make it much more difficult to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The international community needs to take urgent action to reduce coal demand and increase investment in clean energy. This will require a combination of policies, including carbon pricing, clean energy standards, and financial support for developing countries.
What can you do?
There are a number of things you can do to help reduce coal demand and increase investment in clean energy. These include:
- Contact your elected representatives and urge them to support policies that will reduce coal demand and increase investment in clean energy.
- Invest in clean energy companies and projects.
- Support organizations that are working to reduce coal demand and increase investment in clean energy.
- Educate yourself and others about the climate crisis and the need to transition away from coal.
By taking action, we can help to ensure a clean and sustainable future for our planet.