Energie : papiers de recherche moissonnés (17/11/2017)

Tackling Fossil Fuel Subsidies through International Trade Agreements / Cleo Verkuijl, Harro van Asselt, Tom Moerenhout, Liesbeth Casier and Peter Wooders. Climatre Strategies, November 2017, 76 p. http://climatestrategies.org/publication/tackling-fossil-fuel-subsidies-through-international-trade-agreements/

(…) The report analyses the compatibility of five selected fossil fuel support measures in the Group of 20 (G20) countries with the WTO’s 1994 Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM). The exercise has never been attempted before, and doing so, it identifies some of the key legal questions and challenges faced at the WTO. Specifically, the findings highlight the difficulty of litigating fossil fuel consumption subsidies, measures that remain substantial. While enhanced transparency could help address some of the challenges complainants may face, fossil fuel subsidy notification rates within the WTO system remain disappointingly low…

Coal transitions in China’s power sector: A plant-level assessment of stranded assets and retirement pathways / Thomas Spencer, Nicolas Berghmans and Oliver Sartor. Paris : Iddri, November 2017, 26 p. (Studies N°12/2017) http://www.iddri.org/Publications/Coal-transitions-in-China-s-power-sector-A-plant-level-assessment-of-stranded-assets-and-retirement-pathways

This paper addresses the following questions:

  • Under plausible scenarios for the development of the demand/supply balance, load factors, and generation margins, what is the profitability of Chinese coal-fired power plants and the scale of potential asset stranding?
  • What policies could be deployed to limit the political economy frictions of power sector transition in China?
  • What would be the potential economic retirement schedule of Chinese coal-fired power plants, given the modelled investment costs, load factors, and margins? Put more simply, how quickly could China get out of coal power?
Strengthening national coal transitions to raise climate ambition / Oliver Sartor. Paris : Iddri, November 2017, 12 p. (Issue brief) http://www.iddri.org/Publications/Strengthening-national-coal-transitions-to-raise-climate-ambition

The issue of coal transitions is coming into focus in both national and international climate policy discussions. There are several drivers of this. At one level, the Paris Agreement marked a significant shift in the pace, scope and ambition of global climate change mitigation action. Consequently, it is now clear that coal will need to play a more and more diminished role in the global energy mix in the coming decades, despite carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

It is also increasingly clear that non-climate policy-related factors, such as rapid declines in the cost of renewable energy and battery storage, will continue to challenge the previously strong role of steam coal in the global energy mix (Randall, 2015). The business-as-usual scenario is therefore evolving quickly and the downside risks to coal demand appear to be increasing.

The accumulation of these factors has in turn led to a call for an assurance of “just transition”, especially from stakeholders—notably coal sector workers and their communities—whose economic livelihoods depend on the future of an industry that will be in decline.

In this context, parties to the UNFCCC will be called upon via the Facilitative Dialogue of 2018 to re-evaluate the adequacy progress and subsequently to revise their levels of ambition in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). This moment presents an important opportunity for governments to raise the overall ambition of their policies on coal transition. But how should they do this?

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