China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam are planning to build more than 600 coal plants, think-tank Carbon Tracker said.
Five Asian countries are responsible for 80 percent of new coal power stations planned worldwide, with the projects threatening goals to fight the climate crisis, a report warned Wednesday.
The stations will be able to generate a total of 300 gigawatts of energy — equivalent to around the entire electricity generating capacity of Japan.
The projects are being pursued despite the availability of cheaper renewables, and they threaten efforts to meet the Paris climate deal goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the study said.
“These last bastions of coal power are swimming against the tide, when renewables offer a cheaper solution that supports global climate targets,” said Catharina Hillenbrand Von Der Neyen, Carbon Tracker’s head of research.
“Investors should steer clear of new coal projects.”
Experts see phasing out coal, which produces greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, as key in battling a climate crisis whose impacts — ranging from species extinction to unliveable heat — are expected to accelerate markedly.
But many countries in the Asia-Pacific region, long reliant on the fossil fuel to power their booming economies, have been slow to act, even as Europe and the United States accelerate their transitions to cleaner energy.
Asia-Pacific consumed over three-quarters of all coal used globally in 2019, according to BP’s statistical review of world energy.