In its special report, Global Warming of 1.5°C, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has assessed mitigation pathways limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The IPCC has analyzed various pathways, all of which require a near-total reduction in coal use for electricity generation by 2050, with reductions of approximately two-thirds by 2030.

This briefing examines how such drastic cuts, two-thirds reduction in coal power generation in 2030 and a near-total reduction by 2050, can be achieved.

The 1.5°C Pathway described in this briefing is based on CoalSwarm’s Global Coal Plant Tracker (GCPT), which provides unit-specific details on all coal-fired generating units of 30 MW or more. The 1.5°C Pathway models two “oldest-first” phase-out schedules, one for OECD countries and the other for non-OECD countries. For the OECD countries, which tend to have older coal plants, the schedule retires plants by reverse age order until the entire fleet is phased out in 2030. For the non-OECD countries, where coal fleets are newer, the schedule retires plants by reverse age order at a pace rapid enough to meet the IPCC benchmarks for 2030 and 2050.

A Coal Phase-Out Pathway for 1.5°C