To end King Coal’s reign, must loyal subjects be paid? Compensating phase-out losers

#1
https://www.sussex.ac.uk/news/all?id=52485

RELEASE: The huge task of phasing out coal requires a detailed roadmap to sequence coal plant retirement with a range of policy instruments and support for key stakeholders which will expand current notions of a just transition, leading energy experts have said. Governments should be prepared to pay billions of pounds to operators of coal-fired power plants in agreements to shut down their plants early, a new paper published in Nature Climate Change today recommends.

The paper recommends extensive compensation should also be considered for regional economies hardest hit by the loss of coal producers and energy-intensive industries that will have to absorb higher energy prices in order to ensure a just transition to greener energy production. To prevent regions such as the coal belt in the United States or dependent communities in Germany and Poland being abandoned after coal, the study recommends governments should foot the bill for extensive improvements to localised transport and communication infrastructure, higher education provision, new business opportunities and the relocation of government services.

And to shield the poor from electricity price rises resulting from replacing coal plants with more costly alternative power generation, governments and regulators should consider Just Transition measures including adjusting electricity tariffs, investing in community benefit funds or subsidizing energy efficiency through weatherization and retrofits programmes targeted at the most in need or vulnerable.

Benjamin K Sovacool, Professor of Energy Policy in the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex Business School, said: “Paying billions to some of the world’s biggest polluters to avert a climate catastrophe they helped to create may sound unpalatable to some environmentalists. But compensating the biggest losers from coal phase-out, alongside improving equity and accountability processes, will go a long way towards achieving all the other aspects of a just energy transition including legitimacy, desirability, speed of transition and financing. Simply put: a just transition requires more than just safeguarding jobs, and involves protecting the resilience of entire communities across both high-carbon as well as low-carbon energy pathways.”

In the new paper published today, 13 energy experts led by Michael Jakob and Jan Christoph Steckel from the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) in Berlin outline that while the power sector must stop using coal without carbon capture-and-storage within 30 years, coal combustion currently accounts for 40% of global CO2 emissions from energy and coal use with growing demand in China, India and other Asian countries.

To quicken the rate of coal phase-out to meet the Paris Agreement timelines, the study authors recommend governments remove all coal subsidies immediately to create a level playing field for clean energy sources. Dr Steckel said: “In my view, the novel twist we give to the debate is that we need to think of “who’s losing” beyond a “particular group”, “get them paid”, and we also propose how this could be financed via a tax on carbon.”

And policymakers and legislators should also consider imposing additional carbon costs on coal plants to accelerate phase-out and raise funds in support of affected workers, communities and consumers, the academics recommend. Dr Jakob, lead author of the study, said: “Coal phase-out can only succeed if it takes into account social objectives and priorities. It is crucial that the modalities of coal phase-out are seen as fair and that the process corresponds to political realities. Policymakers need to understand in more detail who will be affected by a transition away from coal, how these societal groups can be effectively compensated and how powerful vested interests can be counterbalanced.”

Coal phase-out is also likely to affect the competitiveness of other industries such as steel, aluminium, chemicals, and other important components of industrial strategy, the study warns. To counter the risk of carbon leakage through the migration of energy-intensive industries to regions with laxer climate measures, policymakers should consider a range of measures including carbon contracts for difference or mechanisms of technology transfer .

Co-author Professor Frank Jotzo, from the Australian National University's Crawford School of Public Policy and Director of the Centre for Climate Economics and Policy at ANU, said: “What is needed in the transition away from coal is a clear way forward for regional economies and communities, creating prospects for new jobs and business opportunities, while limiting adverse impacts on consumers and energy-intensive industries.”
Reply
#2
Quote:And to shield the poor from electricity price rises resulting from replacing coal plants with more costly alternative power generation....


Making it sound like the poor have it so good right now. 

If no one used the (by)product then coal wouldn’t be such a problem would it? We’re all hypocrites with no one to blame but ourselves. Perhaps we should all move underground.
Reply
#3
(Jul 29, 2020 12:55 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote:
Quote:And to shield the poor from electricity price rises resulting from replacing coal plants with more costly alternative power generation....


Making it sound like the poor have it so good right now. 
More about how much worse they will have it with more expensive energy.
Reply
#4
(Jul 29, 2020 05:01 PM)Syne Wrote:
(Jul 29, 2020 12:55 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote:
Quote:And to shield the poor from electricity price rises resulting from replacing coal plants with more costly alternative power generation....


Making it sound like the poor have it so good right now. 
More about how much worse they will have it with more expensive energy.

Is it better to be healthier but poorer than you were when coal was supplying energy? I would think that poorer might also affect health negatively. So in the end when it all balances out, you remain as poor or perhaps poorer than you were and equally if not more unhealthy.  Huh
Reply
#5
(Jul 29, 2020 08:03 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote:
(Jul 29, 2020 05:01 PM)Syne Wrote:
(Jul 29, 2020 12:55 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: Making it sound like the poor have it so good right now. 
More about how much worse they will have it with more expensive energy.

Is it better to be healthier but poorer than you were when coal was supplying energy? I would think that poorer might also affect health negatively. So in the end when it all balances out, you remain as poor or perhaps poorer than you were and equally if not more unhealthy.  Huh
Yeah, if energy is more expensive for everyone, not only would the poor be poorer and thus less healthy, but the healthcare providers themselves would also have a higher overhead, possibly restricting their ability to provide at the previous capacity. Since most western countries are already environmentally clean enough to not impact health, China is really the only serious health risk polluter. So a western country being even cleaner would have negligible affects on health.
Reply
#6
I haven’t seen many wealthy folks committing retail theft, rioting and plundering. Higher costs for all goods and services, including energy, aren’t exactly going to alleviate those occurrences. Just shows there’s a price associated for everything, with change owning a share of it. Do poor people committing most of the crime actually contribute to their own poverty?

So even if we told all the coal people ‘tough luck, sorry you’re broke’ we’d still be contributing to the poverty/crime numbers. Meanwhile the air is cleaner, a much nicer environment for committing crime. Never thought we’d have to pay for a healthy environment but one way or another we can’t avoid it. Cha-Ching.

Instead of paying them to go out of business why not use the money to help the companies diversify, change to an air cleaning enterprise, developing and marketing new clean air/pollution technology.?
Reply
#7
(Jul 30, 2020 11:57 AM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: I haven’t seen many wealthy folks committing retail theft, rioting and plundering. Higher costs for all goods and services, including energy, aren’t exactly going to alleviate those occurrences. Just shows there’s a price associated for everything, with change owning a share of it. Do poor people committing most of the crime actually contribute to their own poverty?
Absolutely. No one wants to open businesses, build housing, or create jobs in high crime areas.

Quote:So even if we told all the coal people ‘tough luck, sorry you’re broke’ we’d still be contributing to the poverty/crime numbers. Meanwhile the air is cleaner, a much nicer environment for committing crime. Never thought we’d have to pay for a healthy environment but one way or another we can’t avoid it. Cha-Ching.

Instead of paying them to go out of business why not use the money to help the companies diversify, change to an air cleaning enterprise, developing and marketing new clean air/pollution technology.?
There's no such think as a market for air cleaning. So you'd have to continue to subsidize those companies in perpetuity, or sacrifice their ability to create new jobs.
Reply


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  (Oz) PM cracks down coal sector threats + Labor’s new spin on climate change crisis C C 0 47 Nov 2, 2019 05:09 PM
Last Post: C C



Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)