Bloomberg predicts peak in global coal use next year
Global coal consumption will likely peak by next year as economics and climate strategies shift the world toward cleaner energy, according to Bloomberg
Coal power generation increased in each of the past two years as China and India battled electricity shortages and Europe tried to replace Russian natural gas. Bloomberg modelled two possible scenarios – economic and political – both of which see demand rise to a record next year before declining.
Under both scenarios there are several wild cards that could affect how slowly or rapidly use of the fossil fuel declines. In particular, these include stronger-than-expected power demand, social backlash against the loss of mining jobs and lobbying from plant owners.
Bloomberg predicts that coal use will continue into the mid-21st century, even under strong net zero policies, where demand in the power sector would fall about 70 percent from its 2024. It will also need to build plants equipped with carbon capture systems to keep emission at bay. That would require massive investments in the technology, which has struggled to prove it can operate commercially at scale.
Coal production has outpaced demand over the past two years, as top miners China and India lifted output to help battle power shortages. That led to a surge in inventories by the end of 2022, especially in China.