Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are the only two among 40 countries with the largest shares of coal in electricity production that have not accepted any kind of commitment regarding phasing out the fossil fuel, according to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The list of 40 countries where coal-fired power plants have the largest share in overall electricity generation includes eight from the region tracked by Balkan Green Energy News. These are BiH, Bulgaria, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Turkey.
Six of the countries have in some way determined their future policy when it comes to ending the use of coal in the energy sector.
Bulgaria, Montenegro and Slovenia are among the countries that have prepared national plans to stop using coal. The group also includes Poland, which, along with Kosovo*, Serbia, and BiH, has the highest share of coal in electricity production.
Turkey has set a net-zero target, but without an obligation to phase out coal
North Macedonia has accepted the international obligation to stop using coal, joining the group of countries with much larger shares of coal in power production, such as Botswana, which tops the list of the 40 countries, but also South Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Japan.
Kosovo* has also undertaken an international obligation, but only regarding giving up the construction of new coal-fired power plants. Such a move has also been made by Morocco and Kazakhstan, which get two-thirds of their electricity from coal.
Turkey has set the goal to achieve net-zero emissions, but this does not imply an obligation to phase out coal. Among the 40 countries on the list, this goal has also been set by some of the world’s most powerful nations and, at the same time, the biggest CO2 emitters, including India, China, the US, Australia, Malaysia, Taiwan.
BiH and Serbia have no obligations regarding coal, making them the only such nations, along with Mongolia, among 20 countries with the largest shares of coal in electricity generation.
Blasi (IEA): the key point is to make coal history
Alessandro Blasi, special advisor to the IEA executive director, has said coal is the fuel of records. It is the largest source for electricity generation and the biggest source of CO2 emissions from the energy sector.
But coal holds, in his words, some other records as well: there are more than 9,000 coal-fired power plants in the world and many of those, especially in China, India, and other emerging countries, are very young.
Emissions from existing coal plants alone could exhaust the remaining carbon budget to keep the 1.5C limit within reach
That means, as the recent IEA report on Coal in Net Zero Transition finds, that if nothing is done, emissions from existing coal plants in power & industry alone will exhaust the remaining carbon budget to keep the 1.5C limit within reach, said Blasi.
According to him, the key point is to make coal history and many countries have pledged to do so.
The challenge, and potential good news, is that several of the most coal-reliant countries are those having made phase out commitments or climate-neutral targets, he said.