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Figure 3: India's gross electricity generation by source
Brookings Now

Charts of the Week: Climate and energy

Organizations, news outlets, and activists are focused on increasing attention to the growing climate crisis. On September 23, the United Nations Climate Action Summit happens in New York, part of the UN General Assembly meeting. In this edition of Charts of the Week, a look at some research related to energy and climate.

Coal declining, natural gas rising as US electricity sources 

In a report titled, “The Risk of Fiscal Collapse in Coal-Reliant Communities,” expert authors from Brookings and the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University examine risks to the 53,000 U.S. workers and their communities employed in the coal industry. As they show, over 80% of U.S.-coal was used in electricity generation, but the share of overall electricity generated from coal is steadily declining. 

Figure 2: Composition of US electricity generation by source

COAL DOMINATES INDIA’S POWER SUPPLY

Coal remains the dominant source of electricity power generation in India. Rahul Tongia and Samantha Gross write that “Despite expected growth in RE [renewable energy], we project that coal will remain the dominant fuel for electricity generation in India through 2030 and beyond, even though its share of generation will fall.” In their paper, the authors examine India’s use of coal, and its aims to increase alternative sources of energy to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Figure 3: India's gross electricity generation by source 

US CLIMATE COSTS WILL BE WIDESPREAD BUT UNEVEN BY CENTURY’S END 

A team of Brookings researchers examine the geography of climate change with the help of county-level data from the Climate Impact Lab. The data include assessments of climate-change impact in various areas, including agriculture, mortality, coastal damage, and labor supply risk. The chart below aggregates these factors. The researchers conclude, among other things, that mortality represents the largest cause of the variability, and also climate change could “bestow net economic benefits” to some areas of the country.

Climate harms map
Climate harms map

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