Edward Elgar Handbook

Chapter 4 – Local and global aspects of coal in the ASEAN countries

Thursday, 23 Dec 2021


Academic Paper

Book title

Handbook of Sustainable Politics and Economics of Natural Resources


Climate Change, Public Awareness


Haakon Fossum Sagbakken, Aidai Isataeva, Indra Overland, Aloysius Damar Pranadi, Beni Suryadi and Roman Vakulchuk

The global energy system is currently undergoing a rapid transition, with profound consequences for the fossil fuel industries, perhaps most notably the one with the highest greenhouse gas emissions – coal. Having played a major role in recent decades, especially in rapidly growing emerging economies such as China and India, coal is being phased out across much of the world, as its environmental and health impacts have become prohibitively costly while its supposed economic advantages are rapidly disappearing as its relative affordability is undermined by the falling cost of renewable energy in many parts of the world (Finkelman and Tian, 2018; Gimon et al., 2019; Hendryx, Zullig and Luo, 2020; Kerimray et al., 2017; Rauner et al., 2020; Strasert, Teh and Cohan, 2019). Coal also has disproportionally large negative environmental and economic externalities in that its emissions degrade local agricultural, water and human resources (Bhuiyan et al., 2010; Hota and Behera, 2015). Coal’s water requirements also put pressure on already strained water resources in places such as India, to the extent that water shortages render coal plants themselves unreliable (Wang et al., 2019, p. 3164). However, despite falling in status and despite their commitments under the Paris Agreement, coal is still favoured by many large developing countries and exposes them to significant economic and stranded asset risks as the cost of coal is being rapidly undercut by renewable energy technologies (Clark, Zucker and Urpelainen, 2020; Edenhofer et al., 2018, p. 2).

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