Historic record for global coal consumption in 2023

The planet has never consumed so much coal: in 2023, global demand reached 8.53 billion tonnes, a historic record, mainly due to the sharp increase in China, India, and Indonesia, indicates Friday the International Energy Agency (IEA).

“From 2024”, global coal consumption should begin a downward trend, estimates the IEA in its forecasts published on Friday, two days after the closing of the 28th UN international climate meeting in Dubai. which called for a gradual abandonment of fossil fuel sources, including coal, to fight against global warming.

Previous record in… 2022

While the European Copernicus Observatory estimated at the beginning of November “with near certainty” that average temperatures on the planet would this year exceed the annual record established in 2016, the IEA established that the tons of coal consumed in the world this year would exceed the previous record dating from… 2022.

The combustion of coal to produce energy or in industry emits a large part of the CO2 responsible for global warming into the atmosphere.

Appetite in Asia, slowdown in Europe

The IEA highlights the strong appetite for coal in Asia. According to its report, this year, consumption in China will have jumped by 220 million tonnes (+4.9%) compared to 2022, that of India will have increased by 98 million tonnes (+8%), and that of Indonesia by an additional 23 million tonnes (+11%).

On the other hand, consumption slowed down sharply in Europe (decrease of 107 million tonnes, -23%), and in the United States (decrease of 95 million tonnes, -21%), mainly due to the change in power plants that are gradually abandoning coal to save the climate and weak industrial activity. The IEA admits its difficulty in issuing forecasts for Russia, the world’s fourth largest consumer of coal, due to the war in Ukraine.

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