by Robert Bryce at Robert Bryce Substack
Like The Dude in The Big Lebowski, coal abides.
Last Friday, two days after the COP28 meeting in Dubai ended, the International Energy Agency reported that global coal demand will set another new record this year. Use of the carbon-heavy fuel in Western countries is falling, the IEA said, but demand in emerging and developing economies “remains very strong, increasing by 8% in India and by 5% in China in 2023 due to rising demand for electricity and weak hydropower output.”
The IEA expects coal use to rise by 1.4% this year and set a new record of 8.5 billion tons. That increase shows, yet again, how difficult it will be to achieve significant cuts in CO2 emissions from hydrocarbon use. Mainly due to coal use, which accounts for about 40% of emissions from energy, global CO2 emissions will set another new record in 2023 of 36.8 billion tons.
Surging coal use also shows that the Iron Law of Electricity hasn’t been repealed. That law says, people, businesses, and countries will do whatever they have to do to get the electricity they need. The surge in coal use is a sober reminder that the carbon-heavy fuel remains a cornerstone of electricity generation, particularly in Asia. The IEA noted that coal-fired generation will rise by about 158 terawatt-hours, or 1.5%, this year. It also reported that India and China have “struggled to keep the lights on during periods of high electricity demand…owing to coal shortages and high prices. As a result, both governments have intensified efforts to increase coal production.”
The surge in coal use also shows that the effort by Michael Bloomberg,…Continue Reading