World Coal
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World Coal

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) "Coal is both the largest source of electricity generation and the largest single source of CO2 emissions, creating a unique challenge in transitioning to low-carbon energy systems."

The world needs to see significant and sustained reductions in the use of coal..

It is not enough to just increase renewable capacity and electrification and hope coal use will eventually respond in some way.

Global Consumption

As you can see from this chart global coal consumption continues to grow.

The IEA anticipates that "For our forecast period until 2026 we expect to see a trend emerging of declining worldwide coal demand, starting in 2024."

The IEA expects that growth in India and ASEAN will offset declines in the European Union and the United States, with China remaining the decisive player for setting the trend of global coal demand.

With renewable growth outpacing increase in demand, the IEA believes that this implies "... that coal is likely to peak in 2023".

IEA Coal 2023

According to the IEA's Coal 2023 Report " not only has coal use worldwide increased yet again, but "Today, coal remains the largest energy source for electricity generation, steelmaking and cement production – maintaining a central role in the world economy".

The report states that coal is the largest source of man-made CO2 emissions, and curbing consumption is essential to meeting international climate targets.

And in the absence of any firm forecasts on dates it says "A historic turning point could arrive soon."

Coal News

Jul 2023: Global coal demand reached a new all-time high in 2022, rising above 8.3 billion tonnes.

In its Coal Market Update the IEA states that global coal demand reached a new all-time high in 2022, rising above 8.3 billion tonnes (bt).

It rose despite a weaker global economy, mainly driven by being more readily available and relatively cheaper than gas in many parts of the world.

Mar 2023: In 2022 gas-to-coal switching increased global CO2 emissions.

In its report CO2 Emissions in 2022 the IEA states that global growth in emissions was not as high as some had originally feared, but that "increased emissions from coal more than offset reductions from natural gas".

February 2023: China ramps up coal plant approvals despite emissions pledge

In late February 2023 it was announced that China had approved the largest expansion of coal-fired power plants since 2015.

December 2022: China's daily coal output hits record high

China's National Bureau of Statistics reported that China's daily coal output hits record high in November to meet heating demand.

November 2022: New Australia coal projects to increase methane emissions by 19%

A proposal for Australia to open 15 new coal mines was reported here. This potentially significantly increases methane emissions.