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IEA: Global coal use to peak before solar, wind overtake it

Driven by rising energy costs and supply uncertainties caused by the war in Ukraine, governments and businesses increasingly look to solar and wind as reliable energy sources. They will overtake coal, but not for a few more years.

Before renewables take greater hold, global coal demand is set to increase in the absence of stronger efforts to speed the transition to clean energy. (AN/Abby Anaday / Unsplash)

While the Earth grows hotter and the devastation of global climate change becomes everyday news, the IEA is out with new reports that offer a glimmer of hope – after a peak of several more years in coal and other fossil fuel use.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency reported on Friday that global coal consumption is set to reach an all-time high in 2022 amid the war in Ukraine and rising demand in Europe and India, and will likely remain at similar levels for a few years "in the absence of stronger efforts to accelerate the transition to clean energy."

Global coal use is expected to rise by 1.2% in 2022, exceeding 8 billion tonnes in a single year for the first time, and to remain at that level through 2025 as declines in mature markets are offset by continued robust demand in emerging Asian economies.

"This means coal will continue to be the global energy system’s largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions by far," it said, noting that China, the world’s biggest coal user, increased its demand due to a heat wave and drought.

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