Multi-dimensional and region-specific planning for coal retirements

Nada Maamoun, Ryan Kennedy, Wei Peng, Durand D'souza, Matthew Gray, Stefan Lavelle, Lily Chau, Nicolás González-Jiménez, Valeria Ehrenheim, Magali Joseph, Johannes Urpelainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Early retirement of coal-fired power is essential for remaining in line with the 2°C target set in the Paris Agreement. Plant age plays the major role in designing retirement pathways, however, this overlooks the economic and health costs associated with coal-fired power. We introduce multi-dimensional retirement schedules that account for age, operating cost, and air pollution hazards. Results show that regional retirement pathways vary substantially with different weighting schemes. Schedules based on age would retire capacity mostly in the US and EU, whereas those based on cost or air pollution would shift the majority of near-term retirements to China and India, respectively. Our approach emphasizes that a “one-size-fits-all” strategy is ineffective in addressing global phase-out pathways. It provides the opportunity for devising region-specific pathways that are sound to the local context. Our results involve emerging economies and highlight incentives for early retirement that surpass climate change mitigation and address regional priorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106739
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 16 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Energy resources
  • Energy sustainability
  • Energy systems
  • Environmental science
  • Pollution


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