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The future of coal in a renewables-led world

As we fast approach COP26 in Glasgow later this year, the debate of fossil fuels vs renewable energy technology is heating up, with world leaders trying to work out the best approach for achieving net-zero targets.

COP26 President Alok Sharma has said that his personal priority is to banish the use of coal altogether. Mr Sharma has also said that richer countries must lead the way of abandoning coal power generation, and that those same countries should support poorer nations with their efforts to do the same.

To reinforce this, the US climate envoy John Kerry has recently stated that the US is phasing out coal power stations – and expressed his belief that half of emissions cuts will come from future technology.

By stating that 50% of the carbon reductions needed to achieve net-zero targets will come from technologies that have not yet been invented, Mr Kerry has been criticised by engineers for his optimism.

Mr Kerry has also said that President Biden had set a goal of making the US power sector carbon-free by 2035. This is an ambitious target given that the US is the second largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions after China.

How achievable are these goals? 

The all-important COP26 will provide the perfect setting for world leaders to discuss the future of coal and other fossil fuels, and just how achievable they are.

It is certain however that to be able to achieve net-zero targets, the energy industry will need people like you to lead the charge and be skilled in jobs that don’t yet exist. 

See what you can offer to the world of energy by visiting our Energy Careers page.