The headline statement from the UN Environment Programme that renewables have taken the lead in new power sector investment conceals some “quite bad” news about a continuing rise in greenhouse gas emissions from electrical generation, the Washington Post reports.
“The outlook for power sector emissions remains alarming,” the Post warns, citing the same UNEP report that found the world added more clean than fossil generation in 2015. “We are still not only adding fossil fuels, but adding new plants that have long lifetimes and will burn coal for decades.”
The retirement of 43 gigawatts of coal-fired generation in 2015 was more than offset by the commissioning of twice that much capacity in new plants. Gas recorded another 40 gigawatts of new generation. Consequently, global greenhouse gas emissions from electrical generation are forecast to rise at least until 2026, pushing the CO2 content of the atmosphere sharply up from its 2015 average of 401 parts per million.