- According to the IEA Coal 2022 report, coal demand is forecast to grow by 1.2 percent in 2022, reaching an all-time high and surpassing 8 billion tons for the first time.
- Lack of natural gas from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was the main reason for the increase in coal demand, because coal use in electricity production grew by 2%.
- Although Europe can reduce its dependence on coal by 2025, the demand for this Asian energy source seems to increase in the coming years.
- Environmentalists are deeply concerned about the continued dependence on coal, which emits not only carbon dioxide but also sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere. Scientists consider coal to be a major obstacle to limiting global warming and a major factor in climate change.
- Britain, which has announced it will phase out coal for power generation from 2024, a year earlier than originally planned, approved a new coal mine this month in an unexpected shift away from fossil fuels. Woodhouse Colliery, in northwest England, is the country’s first new coal mine in 30 years and supplies coal mainly for export to Europe. The UK government expects the plant to operate until 2029, a year before the country aims to achieve zero carbon emissions.
- At the same time, the Asian coal market is expected to continue its rapid growth for several years. Although China has pledged to halt the construction of new coal plants abroad and to end existing coal plans under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it continues to pump money into domestic coal development. However, China insists it will continue to aim to stop the expansion of its coal market in the coming years, with coal under strict control during the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).
- Demand for coal also remains high in other parts of Asia, such as India and Indonesia. One Indonesian miner stated that “[coal] overall demand is expected to remain strong due to strong economic prospects in countries such as China, Indonesia and India. The effects of the war will gradually subside as countries adapt to new trade flows.
- India and China can continue to buy Russian coal while expanding its domestic production.” This is concerning for several reasons. First, demand for coal in Asia is expected to remain high; secondly, because many of these countries still depend on Russia for coal; and third, because many Asian countries plan to build more coal-fired power plants and increase national production. This suggests that although Europe may curb its coal dependence, this effort will be largely offset by increasing coal dependence in Asia in the coming years.
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