Does coal threaten the global energy transition?

At the “Berlin Science Week”, MCC researcher Jan Steckel discusses the question of why many countries still rely on coal—despite ambitious climate goals.

MCC, climate and development

Photo: MCC


Changing the way energy will be produced in the future plays a key role for achieving the climate targets agreed upon in Paris. The power sector today relies heavily on fossil fuels, although low-carbon alternatives are already widely available. In the context of the “Berlin Science Week”, Jan Steckel, group leader at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), explains why countries and businesses still invest in coal and how a transformation away from coal could be incentivized and managed.

Achieving the Paris targets can be translated to a carbon budget of around 700 billion tonnes of CO2. As coal-fired power plants have a long economic life time and already use up a major part of the remaining budget, a quick, gradual phase out of coal is required—and a full phase out of new investments. This deep transformation is unprecedented in history.

Despite growing political pressure as well as recent cost reductions in renewable energy technologies, many countries still invest (or plan to invest) in carbon-intensive coal. A shift in investment patterns does not seem to be at the horizon as growth rates of new coal investments and coal use are still positive. We cordially invite you to learn more about the reasons for this phenomenon and possible solutions.


Title: Does coal threaten the global energy transition?

Place: Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), EUREF Campus (building 19), Torgauer Strasse 12-15, 10829 Berlin

Date: November 9, 2017, 3:00-4:00 p.m. 

Registration: mcc-presse(at)

Sign up for the MCC newsletter.