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OECD warns of true cost of fossil fuel dependence

Governments should conduct a more rigorous evaluation of the true costs of coal, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría has warned.

With prices failing to fully account for the environmental, health and financial costs of coal, many of the coal plants being built today may have to be shut down before the end of their economic lifetimes, Gurría stressed in a lecture hosted by the London School of Economics and Aviva Investors in association with ClimateWise.

“Coal is not cheap,” Gurría said. “Governments need to be seriously sceptical about whether coal provides a good deal for their citizens.”

Without new mitigation measures, coal generation is projected to emit more than 500 billion tonnes of CO2 between now and 2050 which would eat up around half the remaining carbon budget consistent with keeping a global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.

He said the carbon clock is ticking and the Paris COP21 climate conference in December must give a clear and credible signal that governments are determined to go for a higher level of ambition.

Gurria's speech coincided with the publication of a  new report published by the OECD, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Transport Forum (ITF), Aligning Policies for a Low-carbon Transition, which shows how policy misalignments undermine climate action in areas from tax to trade, electricity market regulation and land use.

OECD | Global | fossil fuels

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