Coal is one of the most potent drivers of climate change. Phasing it out is critical for cutting harmful emissions and transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Yet, despite rising commitments to do so, many countries seem to want to hang on to coal. Why?

This deeper dive on the issue of coal is the first of a short series of WRI podcasts looking at the individual subjects of our Stories To Watch project for 2022.


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Joel Jaeger, Research Associate for the Climate Program and Stories To Watch Researcher, WRI

"The story as we kept developing it actually became about the energy transition. How are we going to make this shift, do it fast enough, and do it in a way that the energy system is resilient and prepared for whatever comes next?”


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Jennifer Layke, Global Director, WRI Energy Program, WRI

"The coal transition is the first test of our global ability to manage change at the scale that we need. Coal is emblematic. Can we get rid of this as a fuel? I don’t think people are pro-coal; I think they’re pro-certainty.”


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Ani Dasgupta, President & CEO, WRI

"I think our objective here is on getting the transition right. It is absolutely true that we have to get coal out of our energy system. It’s the most polluting, it makes the most logical sense to start with. Let’s get it right so that it’s not disruptive, that there’s a transition that doesn’t produce blackouts. That’d be a total political disaster, and then nobody would want to do any other transition.”


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