The International Energy Agency said Friday that global coal-fired power generation will grow 9% and reach a record high by the end of 2021, despite efforts to cut carbon emissions.
Total demand for coal, including its use in steelmaking and other industrial applications, is expected to grow 6% in 2021 to 8.11 billion tonnes, the Paris-based group said in an annual report. This allows demand to reach a new all-time high in early 2022 and remain there for the next two years, the report said.
Increased demand for coal in Asia will be offset by falling demand in the United States and the European Union by 2024, the supervisor said.
The agency said the renewed demand for fossil fuels was mainly driven by a faster-than-expected economic recovery, temperature and weather fluctuations, which led to lower electricity supplies and higher gas prices.
Coal is the largest source of global carbon emissions, and the historically high coal production this year is a worrisome sign of how far the world is lagging behind in its efforts to reduce emissions to zero, ”said the IEA executive director. This is stated in the statement of Fatih Birol.
“Without decisive and urgent action by governments to reduce coal emissions - in a fair, affordable and safe way for those affected - we will have little, if any, chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. ", - said Birol.
COP26 didn't help
In November, more than 190 countries reached an agreement at the UN Climate Summit COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, which aims to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and "phase out" the use of coal in the future.
In the last minute, intervention from India and China has weakened efforts to end thermal coal and fossil fuel subsidies.
“The influence of China on the coal markets can hardly be overestimated. Electricity production in China, including district heating, accounts for a third of the world's coal consumption, ”the report says.
In November, India pledged to triple its solar power generation capacity and meet half of its energy needs with renewables by 2030. However, the IEA predicts that India's coal consumption will grow by about 4% annually until 2024.
“It is unfortunate that coal-fired energy could reach an all-time high in the same year that countries agreed to cut its consumption,” said Dave Jones, global program manager for climate think tank Ember, in an email.
“Coal energy will inevitably begin to decline soon: China has committed to phase out coal from 2025, while India’s huge renewable energy goal is to eliminate the need for more coal.