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DisasterousGiraffe OP t1_jd9bkko wrote

Perhaps, but even with a pure free market, and not imposing the external costs of coal (like health and climate change) on the industry, I can't see how the US electricity generation industry will continue using coal plants beyond the working life of the existing plants. Solar is just so cheap, and under free market theories it will get cheaper as volume manufacture of the panels increases. It seems to me therefore that the MIT graph of coal use out to 2100 cannot possibly be correct whether or not we like free markets.

We might reasonably argue that US electricity generation using coal plants is not representative of the global coal industry, but 92% of India's new electricity generation capacity was solar in 2022 and although they are building lots of coal plants China seems to be building solar at approximately the same rate as coal. The IEA says global coal increased 1.6% in 2022, mostly in Asia, but they also say renewables met 90% of last year’s global growth in electricity generation. So I guess we are at approximately global peak coal. After peak coal the MIT graph should go downwards. Exactly when and how fast it goes down is open to debate, for example the UK shut down 90% of its coal in 10 years, but MIT have drawn the graph going upwards to 2100. That's why I think the MIT graph is plain wrong.