source: Greenpeace Report
The coal industry’s effects on water-deficient areas in the near future poses the most serious threat to water security around the world.
Greenpeace’s analysis of the global coal-water conflict shows that the five countries with the highest water consumption by current coal power plants in red-list areas are, in order of magnitude, China, India, US, Kazakhstan and Canada.
The world is reliant on coal for around 40% of its electricity generation and fast-growing countries such as Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand are expected to join Asia’s three largest economies China, Japan and India in becoming big burners of coal.
Although countries agreed to include 1.5C and 2C temperature targets in the Paris Climate Agreement signed in Paris last December, only a scaling up of national climate targets, and a major reallocation of energy finance, are likely to deliver a decisive shift away from coal in the power generation mix.
To reduce the coal industry’s demands on water use, Greenpeace says water management should be taken into account in all regional planning, and major restrictions placed on coal industry projects when their water demand exceeds the availability of water.
A phase-out of coal, a long-held goal of environmental groups, should be prioritised in areas of water stress, the report adds. Policymakers should also opt for renewables, which use much less water than coal.
Published with inputs from thethirdpole