Global Coal Use Expected To Drop More Than Ever Before, Study Says

Global coal use has decreased by at least 2.3 percent, which is an unprecedented level, according to a new Greenpeace study. Coal consumption leveled off in 2014, the study added, and use has continued to fall ever since.

Rising carbon dioxide levels due to coal production have been identified as a primary cause of global warming, and some countries have taken steps to reverse its effects.

The study cites a number of reasons for the decrease in global coal consumption: “renewable energy breakthroughs, [a] war on pollution and China’s transformation.”

China’s coal use, in particular, is highlighted in the study. The country is still adding one coal-fired power plant per week to its energy grid and has consumed half of the world’s coal in years past. But, in what Greenpeace’s Li Shuo, one of the study’s contributors, called a “dramatic u-turn,” China’s coal use has already declined by 5 percent in the period between January and August this year. And coal imports have fallen by 31 percent.

This means that many Chinese coal-fired power plants will remain idle, posing a “pretty big concern from an investment point of view,” Li explained.

“There’s an absolute decline for the first time in history,” he added. “We have preliminary data from the first ten months of this year showing that this decline is going even further. We’re almost certain we will see another decline.”

China is the world leader in solar and wind power investments, leading to a potential “green tipping point,” according to the study.

The U.S. has also made significant progress in moving away from a dependency on coal, the study noted. Coal consumption fell by 11 percent between January and July 2015, and coal’s share of U.S. electricity generation will fall to 36 —> Read More