Coal producers are actively pursuing 2.2 billion tonnes per annum of new mine projects around the world, a growth of 30 per cent from current production levels, a new report from Global Energy Monitor said on Thursday.

The first-of-its-kind analysis surveyed 432 proposed coal projects globally and found a handful of provinces and states in China, Russia, India, and Australia are responsible for 77 per cent (1.7 billion tonnes per annum) of new mine activity. If developed, these proposed projects boost supply to over four times the 1.5 degrees Celsius-compliant pathway necessary to meet the goal of the Paris climate agreement.

While three-fourths (1.6 billion tonnes per annum) of proposed coal mine capacity is in the early stages of planning and thus vulnerable to cancellation, the report finds one quarter (0.6 billion tonnes per annum) of proposed mine capacity is already under construction. The prospect of a low-carbon transition and tighter emission policies put these projects at risk of becoming up to $91 billion in stranded assets.

Ryan Driskell Tate, a research analyst at Global Energy Monitor and lead author of the report, said, “While the IEA has just called for a giant leap toward net zero emissions, coal producers’ plans to expand capacity 30 per cent by 2030 would be a leap backward. Demand for coal is plummeting and financing for new coal projects is drying up. New mines and expansions of existing mines will be producing coal for a world in which coal is unviable economically, and untenable for the environment.”

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June 6, 2021