General Electric’s Coal Plant Profiteering

Issue Brief
September 09, 2019

Coauthored with Claire Wang

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require a 70 percent reduction in global coal generation by 2030 and a complete coal phase-out by 2050. Not only will the existing stock of coal plants need to be gradually taken offline, but no new coal plants should be built. The U.S.-based giant General Electric (GE) is currently at odds with this crucial goal. GE claims to be a leader in the “future of energy,” while in actuality it’s doubling down on the dirty energy of the past. Even now, GE is helping to build or plan more than a dozen new coal plants around the world with a total capacity of more than 12,000 megawatts. Many of these plants, such as new projects in Kenya, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Vietnam, are expected to be so polluting or uneconomical that they could not be built in the United States.

GE’s involvement in coal projects will lock in carbon emissions, local pollution, and economic harms across the globe at a time when clean, affordable energy solutions abound. GE should cease its support for these coal power plants, instead focusing on building up a workforce for zero-carbon technologies in alignment with the Paris Agreement on climate change.