Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

In a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), it was disclosed that global coal consumption has surged to an unprecedented high in 2023, coinciding with the planet experiencing its hottest recorded year.

The IEA predicts that this year will surpass the previous record set in 2022, making it the pinnacle of coal usage, a primary contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists emphasize the urgent need to slash greenhouse gases by nearly half this decade to meet global targets aimed at mitigating climate change. The Copernicus Climate Change Service of the European Union confirmed earlier in December that 2023 is poised to become the hottest year on record, with November marking the sixth consecutive month of record-breaking temperatures.

Despite this alarming trend, the IEA projects a shift in the narrative, foreseeing a decline in worldwide coal consumption starting in 2024. This anticipated downturn is attributed to the expanding presence of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power.

The IEA’s projections come on the heels of the United Nations climate negotiations (COP28) in Dubai, where an accord was reached among nearly 200 nations, explicitly acknowledging the imperative to transition away from fossil fuels to combat global warming. Notably, this marked the first time in the 28-year history of these climate negotiations that all fossil fuels were addressed in a collective agreement.

Asia emerges as the primary driver behind the surge in coal consumption, with China, India, and Indonesia experiencing notable increases. While Europe and the United States witnessed a decline in demand, the overall global consumption rose by 1.4 percent to a record 8.5 billion tonnes.

The IEA underscores the challenging task of forecasting coal demand in Russia, the fourth-largest consumer, due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Despite the anticipated decrease in coal for power stations, the report highlights the persistence of high levels of coal use in heavy industries like cement production.

Paradoxically, Indonesia’s robust demand for coal is linked to its flourishing mining sector, specifically in extracting and refining nickel for electric car batteries. China maintains its position as the world’s largest coal user, responsible for 54 percent of global coal consumption.

The report sheds light on varying regional trajectories, with Europe championing renewables, curtailing coal demand through an expansion of environmentally friendly energy sources. Germany, in particular, is expected to witness a significant decline in coal-powered stations by 2025, as solar and wind farms gain prominence in the energy landscape.

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