World coal consumption should start declining next year after peaking in 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Friday.
The IEA’s latest forecast came after nearly 200 countries at the COP28 UN climate talks adopted a deal stating that the world will be “transitioning away from fossil fuels” to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and limit global warming.
Coal is the largest energy-related source of the CO2 emissions responsible along with other greenhouse gases for global warming.
Scientists say the planet has already warmed by 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and expect 2023 to be the hottest year on record as storms, droughts and lethal wildfires expand around the world.
Consumption of the dirtiest fossil fuel rose by 1.4 percent in 2023 to a record 8.5 billion tonnes, as increases in China, India and Indonesia outweighed sharply falling demand in Europe and the United States, the IEA said.
“We expect to see a trend emerging of declining worldwide coal demand, starting in 2024,” the Paris-based agency said, as renewable power generation from solar and wind continues to expand.
According to the IEA, consumption in China alone grew by 220 million tonnes or 4.9 percent in 2023, while in India it grew eight percent and in Indonesia by 11 percent.
Elsewhere, consumption fell 23 percent or by 107 million tonnes in Europe, while in the United States it dropped 95 million tonnes or by 21 percent, largely due to weakening industrial activity and an ongoing shift away from coal-fired generation towards renewables.
The IEA said it was difficult to forecast demand in Russia, currently the fourth-largest coal consumer, because of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.