According to the report, worldwide coal consumption is forecast to rise 1.2% in 2022, surpassing 8 billion tons in a single year for the first time ever and eclipsing the previous record set in 2013.
The rise in coal consumption is a setback to global efforts to transition to renewable energy sources, including the ambitious goal set by the Biden administration to slash carbon emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2030.
The rise in coal use is due in large part to a surge in natural gas prices caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has forced countries to increase their reliance on coal for power generation.
Countries, especially in Europe, have struggled to replace Russian fossil fuels, exacerbated by lower hydro and nuclear power generation across the continent.
Based on the report and latest market trends, the report forecasts that coal consumption will remain flat at the 2022 levels through 2025, given the robust and likely continued demand from emerging Asian economies.
“This means coal will continue to be the global energy system’s largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions by far,” the IEA said in its report.
“Coal demand is stubborn and will likely reach an all-time high this year, pushing up global emissions,” Keisuke Sadamori, the IEA’s director of energy markets and security, said in a statement.
The IEA said in October that fossil fuel consumption is slated to peak or plateau by the end of the decade amid a shift to renewable energy accelerated largely by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“The world is close to a peak in fossil fuel use, with coal set to be the first to decline, but we are not there yet,” Sadamori said.