The global coal industry will “never recover” from the Covid-19 pandemic, industry observers predict, because the crisis has proved renewable energy is cheaper for consumers and a safer bet for investors.
A long-term shift away from dirty fossil fuels has accelerated during the lockdown, bringing forward power plant closures in several countries and providing new evidence that humanity’s coal use may finally have peaked after more than 200 years.
That makes the worst-case climate scenarios less likely, because they are based on a continued expansion of coal for the rest of the century.
It never was true that just carrying on would lead to that RCP 8.5. It was necessary that we used ever more coal – not just more, but as a greater portion of our energy supply – for that to ever come to pass.
Now, I wonder. Will the next time someone presents a prediction based upon “business as usual” – which is almost always that RCP 8.5 that isn’t going to happen – The Guardian tell them to bugger off?