Burning coal might lead to pollution but its a reliable and consistent producer of electricity; for some developing nations, that’s all that matters.
Thermal coal prices sit near record highs which means coal mining is once again big business and there’s lots of work to go around. As coal consumption declines in developed countries, it’s actually increasing in developing countries, and that gain is outpacing declines. Despite any headlines you might have seen, coal consumption hit a record high in 2022 and will likely hit a record high in 2023 when we receive this year’s data in 2024.
A significant portion, if not all of the growth in coal consumption, has come from Asia. Gains for coal use in electricity generation and industrial applications have outpaced declines in North America and Europe to a large extent. To go further, it’s expected that China, India, and south Asian countries together will account for 3 out of every 4 tonnes of coal consumed in 2023. And that dominance might grow in 2024 as well as developing nations build out their economies.