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Quantifying the regional stranded asset risks from new coal plants under 1.5°C

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Edwards, M. R., Cui, R., Bindl, M., Hultman, N., Mathur, K., McJeon, H., Iyer, G., Song, J., & Zhao, A. (2022). Quantifying the regional stranded asset risks from new coal plants under 1.5° C. Environmental Research Letters, 17(2).​​​​​​​

Abstract: Momentum to phase out unabated coal use is growing globally. This transition is critical to meeting the Paris climate goals but can potentially lead to large amounts of stranded assets, especially in regions with newer and growing coal fleets. Here we combine plant-level data with a global integrated assessment model to quantify changes in global stranded asset risks from coal-fired power plants across regions and over time. With new plant proposals, cancellations, and retirements over the past five years, global net committed emissions in 2030 from existing and planned coal plants declined by 3.3 GtCO2 (25%). While these emissions are now roughly in line with initial Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement, they remain far off track from longer-term climate goals. Progress made in 2021 towards no new coal can potentially avoid a 24% (503 GW) increase in capacity and a 55% ($520 billion) increase in stranded assets under 1.5oC. Stranded asset risks fall disproportionately on emerging Asian economies with newer and growing coal fleets. Recent no new coal commitments from major coal financers can potentially reduce stranding of international investments by over 50%.

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