Ember, a prominent global environmental and clean energy organization, has released a concerning report revealing that greenhouse gas emissions in G20 nations have skyrocketed by nearly 7% per capita since 2015. The primary driver behind this surge is the continued reliance on coal-fired power generation, with China and India contributing significantly. Australia stands out with per capita carbon emissions nearly three times higher than the global average.
As G20 member nations prepare to gather for the G20 summit in India this week, it is noteworthy that seven of these member states—China, Brazil, India, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, and the United States—have yet to formulate plans for phasing out coal, a major contributor to the emissions surge.
The report underscores the critical role played by G20 countries in global greenhouse gas emissions, with these nations collectively responsible for up to 80% of emissions in the global energy sector. Notably, per capita CO2 emissions from coal power reached 1.6 tonnes last year, up from 1.5 tonnes in 2015, far exceeding the global average of 1.1 tonnes.
China, the world’s largest coal consumer and a major source of carbon dioxide emissions, exhibited a per capita CO2 emissions rate of 3.1 tonnes in 2022. This marks a 30% increase from 2015, even as the country added a substantial 670 GW of renewable energy capacity during the same period.
While China has pledged to reduce its reliance on coal, the implementation of this transition is not set to commence until the 2026-2030 planning phase. Meanwhile, China continues to advance coal-fired power plant projects, with the latest study indicating that approved or under-construction coal-fired plants in China have the potential to generate a staggering 243 gigawatts of electricity, equivalent to powering an entire nation like Germany.
This alarming report underscores the urgent need for concerted global efforts to address emissions and transition toward cleaner energy sources. The G20 summit in India offers an opportunity for these influential nations to discuss and commit to effective strategies for reducing emissions and mitigating the impact of coal-fired power generation on the environment.