Global coal consumption breaks record – report

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Skyrocketing gas prices was the key factor for surging coal demand, an annual study by the IEA has shown

The global energy crisis entailed by surging natural gas prices pushed coal use to a ten-year high this year, according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) released on Friday.

Global coal consumption is expected to rise by 1.2 % in 2022 and will exceed 8 billion tons in a single year for the first time ever, beating the previous record set in 2013. Coal used in power generation, the largest consuming sector, is forecast to grow by 2% this year.

At the same time, the IEA expects industrial coal consumption to decrease by more than 1% in 2022 due to a slump in iron and steel production triggered by the economic downturn.

The report also found that coal prices jumped to unprecedented levels in March and then in June, spurred by the global energy crisis and shrinking gas supplies from Russia to the EU.

Consumption of the fossil fuel in Europe will increase for the second year in a row, as many countries have reopened their coal-fired power plants despite green transition plans on fears of gas shortages, the report said.

The IEA also expects emerging and developing economies in Asia – including the world’s largest coal consumers India and China – to boost their consumption next year.

“This means coal will continue to be the global energy system’s largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions by far,” the agency concluded.

The report also indicated that if the energy transition to renewables is not accelerated coal consumption is likely to remain flat at current levels through 2025.

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