Global coal-fired power generation is expected to rise 9% and hit an all-time high by the end of 2021, despite efforts to slash carbon emissions, the International Energy Agency said Friday.
Overall coal demand — including its use in steelmaking, cement and other industrial activities — is expected to grow by 6% in 2021 to 8.11 billion tonnes, the Paris-based group said in its annual report. That puts demand on track to reach a new record high in early 2022 and to remain at that level for the following two years, it said.
Increases in coal demand in Asia will be offset by falling demand in the US and the European Union by 2024, the watchdog noted.
The agency said that renewed demand for the fossil fuel was caused mainly by a faster-than-expected economic recovery, temperature and weather fluctuations that dampened electricity supply and rises gas prices.
“Coal is the single largest source of global carbon emissions, and this year’s historically high level of coal power generation is a worrying sign of how far off track the world is in its efforts to put emissions into decline towards net zero,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a statement.