Global coal consumption this year is set to match a record set in 2013 as European economies work to conserve supplies of natural gas, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Demand for coal is rising even as countries target a reduction in carbon emissions over the coming years that will require curbing the use of the most polluting fossil fuel.
Coal consumption in the European Union is set to rise by 7% this year as member states save scarce gas supplies, the IEA said. It expects strong demand to continue in the second half of the year after a number of EU countries extended the life of coal plants or reopened others to safeguard power supplies. Nations are trying to save gas for winter as Russian flows become increasingly uncertain.
The power sector will be the biggest contributor to this year’s increase in EU consumption, with the IEA estimating electricity demand for the fuel will jump 16% in 2022. Coal consumption in Europe climbed 14% last year as economies rebounded from Covid-19 lockdowns that cut power demand.
The higher consumption comes as coal prices hit record highs, with a looming EU ban on Russian imports set to add to supply pressures.
A slowdown in China’s economy has stunted overall coal demand this year, the IEA said, adding that it expects consumption to climb by 0.3% in 2023.