Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Nearly all of the world's coal reserves and 30 percent of its oil should be left alone in order to keep climate change at bay, a Russian scientist said.
Mikhail Yulkin, the director general at the Center for Environmental Investments, told Russian news agency Tass that investors were moving to low-carbon energy resources with such vigor that it was "needless" to call it alternative energy.
A report last week on the global energy balance from the International Energy Agency found coal was more or less at parity with natural gas as an energy source for the first time ever. According to the IEA, global coal production declined last year by 458 million tons as advanced economies move toward greener resources.
"In order to reach the climate change parameters set out in the Paris accords, it is necessary to leave in the earth 80 percent of explored coal, up to one half of gas and 30 percent of oil, which means that other sources [of energy] will be developing," Yulkin was quoted as saying.
The IEA reported that renewable energy generation grew 3.8 percent last year in advanced economies to account for about a quarter of total electricity generated. In the last 15 years, the IEA estimates solar power alone grew by 43 percent.
Russian total coal production, according to the World Energy Council, has declined significantly since just before the collapse of the Soviet Union.
U.S. President Donald Trump has put emphasis on revitalizing the coal sector in the country and his administration has started the process of leaving the Paris climate deal. Estimates for the United States, the world's leading economy, show coal power generation expanding by 2 percent next year, though projections for natural gas are nearly identical.
China, the second-largest economy, this week put restrictions in new coal-fired power in order to ensure clean-energy resources are promoted further.