France to shutter all coal-fired power plants by 2021
Image credit: DT
French President Emmanuel Macron has said he will shut down all of the country’s coal-fired power plants by 2021 as part of efforts to meet carbon emission targets.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Macron said: “We’ve also decided to make France a model in the fight against climate change.”
His announcement is being seen as more of a symbolic move than a major change in energy policy, as only 1 per cent of France’s electricity is currently produced in coal-fired power plants.
His predecessor Francois Hollande had previously pledged to phase out the use of coal by 2023, just two years later than Macron’s plan.
The UK has also said it will stop using coal by 2025 and the transition is already in full swing with only 2 per cent of electricity being produced from the fossil fuel last year.
Earlier this week, the French ecology minister was forced to admit that the country’s carbon emission goals were not on track.
Although France has tried to play a leading role in efforts to maintain global momentum on sticking to the 2015 Paris Accord, its carbon dioxide emissions rose 3.6 per cent last year over the targeted 447 million tonnes of CO2 emissions equivalent.
Elsewhere in Europe coal remains a prominent fuel for electricity production.
Despite a significant effort to boost its renewable energy sector, Germany has struggled to reduce its reliance on coal which still accounts for 40 per cent of energy generation, down just 10 points from 2000.
Yesterday, it was announced that a 580km power line would be installed in order to take copious wind power generated in the north of Germany to be used in the more populated areas in the south.
US President Donald Trump has frequently stated his ambition to boost the US coal sector following significant decline in the last decade.
The sector is visibly struggling, with 20 coal-fired plants shut down in the US over the last year alone and global demand generally for the fuel proving sluggish.