London - Wind turbines and solar panels produced a record 10% of the world’s electricity in the first half of 2020 as coal-power declined, but steeper change is needed to meet targets set under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, a report said on Thursday. Scientist say huge cuts to greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector are required over the next decade to limit global warming and curb the worst impacts of climate change such as floods, droughts and loss of species. Generation from wind and solar rose by 14% during the first half of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019 while output from coal plants fell by 8.3%, the report by independent climate think tank Ember said. Overall electricity demand fell by 3% during the six months due to coronavirus lockdowns, the report said.
Despite the drop, coal plants still produced 33% of the world’s electricity during the period: "To keep a chance of limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees, coal generation needs to fall by 13% every year this decade,“ Ember senior analyst Dave Jones said in a statement with the report. Europe and the UK saw the largest contributions from wind and solar, at 21% and 33% respectively during the first half of the year, with China at 10% and the United States at 12%, the report said. Coal power generation in the U.S. and Europe fell by 31% and 32% respectively while coal power in China was down just 2%, the report said. Ember’s report examined data from 48 countries which make up 83% of global electricity production.