Even just a couple of days after the Senate’s Manchin/Schumer spending agreement which included $370-billion to fight climate change (weirdly also called for increased lease sales on federal land for oil and gas drilling), coal — the biggest CO2 emitter — is still a major problem to combating the worse aspects of climate change.
A situation not of the future, but of the right now.
And it looks bleak:
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) July 29, 2022
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) yesterday:
Based on current economic and market trends, global coal consumption is forecast to rise by 0.7 percent in 2022 to 8 billion tonnes, assuming the Chinese economy recovers as expected in the second half of the year, the IEA’s July 2022 Coal Market Update says.
This global total would match the annual record set in 2013, and coal demand is likely to increase further next year to a new all-time high.
The new report highlights the significant turmoil in coal markets in recent months, which has important implications for many countries where coal remains a key fuel for electricity generation and a range of industrial processes.
At the same time, the world’s continued burning of large amounts of coal is heightening climate concerns, as coal is the largest single source of energy-related CO2 emissions.
Worldwide coal consumption rebounded by about 6 percent in 2021 as the global economy recovered rapidly from the initial shock of the Covid pandemic.
That sharp rise contributed significantly to the largest ever annual increase in global energy-related CO2 emissions in absolute terms, putting them at their highest level in history.
And from the Executive Summary to the IEA report: ‘The pledges to reach net zero emissions made by many countries, including China and India, should have very strong implications for coal – but these are not yet visible in our near-term forecast, reflecting the major gap between ambitions and action.‘
Meanwhile, also yesterday, and why we be fucked — too much filthy lucre:
Peabody Energy, the biggest US coal producer, saw second-quarter sales jump 83 percent to $1.32-billion, the most since 2018, the company said in a Thursday statement. Arch Resources reported revenue of $1.13-billion, more than double the total from a year earlier and the most since 2011.
A global energy crisis has boosted demand for fossil fuels around the world, driving up prices. Costly natural gas has spurred demand for coal, but limited supplies have meant surging prices. The trend that started almost a year ago got a huge boost after the war in Ukraine started in February, prompting nations to ban imports of Russian coal and further increasing demand from suppliers including Peabody and Arch.
The war in Europe is further driving up demand as Russia threatens to limit gas shipments to the region, prompting power producers to rely more heavily on coal. Global consumption this year is set to match a record set in 2013, according to the International Energy Agency.
Yet we as humans can’t keep this shit going like this much longer — life will be more than just kick-ass CGI:
Coal-chugging along, here we are once again…
(Illustration out front found here.)