Demand for coal could hit record high in 2022
Global climate targets could be pushed back if this year’s economic rebound results in record demand for coal, warns the International Energy Agency (IEA).
“Without firm and immediate action by governments to tackle coal emissions, in a way that is fair, affordable and safe for those affected, we will have little or no chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C, ”she added. Executive Director Faith Birol told The Guardian.
Coal consumption fell by 4% in 2020 during the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. But last year’s recovery has spurred an increase in energy consumption which is pushing up gas prices and making coal a competitive alternative.
“The aggregate demand for coal in the world, including uses beyond power generation, such as cement and steel production, is expected to increase by 6% in 2021,” reports the IEA. This growth will not exceed the levels of 2013 and 2014, but weather conditions and economic growth could push demand to “reach new all-time highs as early as 2022 and remain at that level for the following two years, underscoring the need for fast and strong policy. action.”
The report was released about a month after the COP 26 climate negotiations, where China and India succeeded in weakening the language for a commitment to reduce coal emissions from ‘phase-out’ to ‘phase-out’. “.
“The promises of net zero emissions made by many countries, including China and India, should have very strong implications for coal, but these are not yet visible in our near-term forecasts, reflecting the ‘Major gap between ambition and action,’ said Keisuke Sadamori, IEA director of energy markets and security.
The United States and the European Union are expected to increase their coal use by 20% from 2020 levels, although demand will remain below 2019 levels. “The use of coal-fired power plants [in these countries] is expected to recede into decline next year as demand for electricity slows and the expansion of renewable energy alternatives continues, ”writes The Guardian.
The IEA predicts that India and China will reach all-time highs in the coming year, with coal production set to rise 12% in India and 9% in China. Because these two countries dominate the global coal market, they “hold the key to future demand for coal,” according to the agency.
“We are on the verge of making coal history,” COP 26 President Alok Sharma told The Guardian. “But in the case of China and India, they will have to explain to climate-vulnerable countries why they did what they did.”