Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 November 2020
Chapter 7 takes the historical analysis into the present day and charts a significant unravelling in the coal-industrial complex. Investor uncertainty about the future viability of energy installations has shifted into a dramatic (and long-awaited) process of capital flight from coal to renewables. Perhaps most revealing, the coal sector itself has begun hedging its losses by investing in renewables. The chapter discusses the reasons for this shift. The Paris Agreement’s 2050 deadline for ‘net-zero carbon’, which, at the time of writing in 2019, was well within the investor horizon for coal-fired power plants, has imposed a growing perception of risk associated with coal facilities. It has also precipitated an unexpected realignment of low-income economies to seek new industrial strategies linked to the renewables sectors, creating a new state-renewables nexus to rival coal.