2018 is almost over and still coal is widely used in various areas of our lives. Is it really worth it? This is what the climate researchers attending the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, are asking themselves during these days. Poland is among the countries of the European Union that has the highest percentage of use of this pollutant resource. During the side event “Energy decarbonisation and coal phase-out: financial, technological and policy drivers”, promoted by the CMCC Foundation (Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change) and moderated by the researcher Elisa Calliari, the reflection focused on 3 key words for decarbonisation: technology, politics and finance.
Although coal involves losses in terms of costs, but above all in terms of health and respect for the environment, it is still considered indispensable by some countries in order to be independent of foreign energy imports. The economic costs of the fossil fuel industry are rising in the world year after year. The data show that in 2018, 42% of global coal capacity or the energy derived from it is no longer considered to be profitable. Moreover, maintaining the 36% of the world’s coal-fired power plants is even more expensive than building new renewable energy power plants. As far as ecological costs are concerned, every ton of coal burned corresponds to 2.5 tons of CO2 emitted.
Another point in favour of moving to an ecological economy is the loss of 17 million jobs that the failure of the coal industry is already causing. What the world now really needs is then the political will and the economic will to use renewable alternatives.
The economic strategy to be followed to carry out this transition is to integrate national funds with private sector investments and European Union funds. The banks would play an important role in complementing this investment system, thus providing the possibility of allocating large amounts of capital, which in turn would reduce the negative externalities resulting from such a transition. The transition to the so-called green economy is therefore inevitable and cannot be postponed to a future that is too distant.