Global coal demand to remain stable up to 2024: IEA

Global coal demand to remain stable up to 2024: IEA

Coal remains a major source of power- but at a cost to the environment.

Global coal demand is expected to remain stable until 2024, as growth in demand from Asia offsets weaker demand from Europe and the United States, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

The IEA report was published just after negotiators from around 190 countries met in Madrid in the last two weeks, trying to thrash out rules for the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which demands a virtual end to coal power by 2050.

"Despite an increase in low-carbon fuels in recent decades, the reality is that coal still holds a major significance in global energy markets. The world consumes 65 per cent more coal today than in the year 2000," the report by a Paris-based agency said.

World coal demand is expected to shoot at a compound annual growth rate of 0.5%, to reach 5,624 million tonnes of coal equivalent (Mtce) in 2024, the IEA said.

A drop in coal consumption in Europe and the US due to coal power phase-out plans in Europe and an increase in the use of gas in the US would be neutralised by the increasing number of fast-growing Asian economies, the report said.

It is predicted that in India demand will rise by 4.2% a year to reach 748 Mtce in 2024 from 585 Mtce in 2018, due to a rise in coal-fired power output, the IEA said.

While in China, consumption is projected to rise slightly over the next few years, and in plateau around 2022.

The way Chinese demand evolves will largely depend on what is included in the country’s five-year plan for 2021-2025, Keisuke Sadamori, Director, Energy Markets and Security at the IEA briefed.

The IEA's reports shape expectations among governments, companies, and investors on the outlook for coal, oil and gas consumption. But the agency has come under criticism from green groups and some financial institutions for underplaying the speed at which the world could switch to renewable sources of energy.

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