The environmental think tank Global Energy Monitor blew the whistle on world’s inability to limit production of power from coal, despite what it will mean to widespread deaths of species on the planet from global heating.
The report indicates that an estimated 537 million tons of the currently planned increase in coal production is already under construction. The remaining 1.663 billion tons of production is still just in the planning stages and in theory could be halted if there were political will to force the issue.
Of this 2.2 billion total tons of coal production capacity building under way, over 75% of that is in China, Russia, Australia and India, for approximately 1.75 billion tons of increased output of coal. Of these countries, China leads the pack with 452 million tons of new capacity already under way, followed by Russia’s 59 million tons per year of coal output in process, Australia with 31 million tons annually, and India with 13 million tons on its way.
Though some of that construction could be canceled, analysts point out that if all these projects were shut down where they current are, it would leave around US $91 billion in assets which someone – probably the nations which would force the issue – would have to pay for. The coal production also serves mostly developing nations, which at this point have few other power options already on their way.
Assuming the bad news of the new plants stays a reality, Global Energy Watch estimates these projects alone will likely contribute to an additional 6° C (10° F) to the planet’s average temperature.