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Coal-related emissions of carbon dioxide in the G20 have gone up by 9% since 2015 on a per-capita basis, climate change think tank Ember has said.
Surprisingly, it is not China that accounts for the biggest share of these emissions on a per capita basis. According to Ember’s figures, it is Australia and South Korea that are the biggest per-capita emitters of carbon dioxide from coal.
Still, the think tank acknowledges that multiple G20 members including Australia and South Korea saw a decline in their coal-related emissions from 2015-2022. Despite these emissions reductions, Australia and South Korea emit more than three times the global average in coal-related CO2 emissions. China was third.
“The G20 accounts for 80% of global emissions. Within the group, however, an individual’s coal emissions in 2022 were notably higher, with per capita figures reaching 1.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide, compared to the global average of 1.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide,” Ember wrote.
The think tank then went on to call on the G20 to put more effort into decarbonization in order for the world to hit Paris Agreement targets for a net-zero energy system by 2050.
Experience seems to suggest, however, that decarbonization cannot happen fast, at least not without creating some new risks. Australia is again a case in point. The country’s Energy Market Operator warned last month that two states risk blackouts this summer because of what its chief executive phrased as “coal-fired generation reliability is at historic lows.”
Coal-fired generation reliability can only suffer from two things: lack of maintenance and a shutdown of capacity, which is what all transition-dedicated governments have been doing, including the Australian one.
Linked to that was the news that New South Wales is now considering extending the life of its biggest coal power plant, driven by concern about electricity prices and the slow progress in wind and solar capacity additions.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com