Wind turbines and solar panels produced a record 10 percent of the world’s electricity in the first half of 2020 as coal power declined, but steeper change is needed to meet targets set under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, a report said on Thursday.
Scientists say huge cuts to greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector are required over the next decade to limit global warming and curb the worst impacts of climate change such as floods, droughts, and loss of species.
Generation from wind and solar rose by 14 percent during the first half of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, while output from coal plants fell by 8.3 percent, the report by independent climate think-tank Ember said.
Overall electricity demand fell by 3 percent during the six months due to coronavirus lockdowns, the report said.
Despite the drop, coal plants still produced 33 percent of the world’s electricity during the period.
Coal keeps on burning
“To keep a chance of limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees (Celsius, 2.7F), coal generation needs to fall by 13 percent every year this decade,” Ember senior analyst Dave Jones said in a statement with the report.
Europe and the United Kingdom saw the largest contributions from wind and solar, at 21 percent and 33 percent respectively during the first half of the year, with China at 10 percent and the United States at 12 percent, the report said.
Coal power generation in the US and Europe fell by 31 percent and 32 percent respectively while coal power in China was down just 2 percent, the report said.
Ember’s report examined data from 48 countries which make up 83 percent of global electricity production.