photo: Duncan Harris/Creative Commons
Worldwatch Institute's latest report on global coal use seems encouraging on one hand--for the first time in the past 10 years, global coal use stagnated--but discouraging on the other--demand for coal in India and China (in particular) continues to grow. Globally coal use fell about 0.5% in 2009, down slightly under a million tons of oil equivalent from 2008 levels. Over the past decade coal use has risen annually 4.3%.
In North America, Europe and Japan, Worldwatch says, economic recession, environmental concerns and low natural gas prices have driven coal use down by 10%, but this was balanced by continued increase elsewhere. For example, China's coat use rose 9.6%, representing 46.9% of global coal use. In fact, in 2009 for the first time, China became a net-importer of coal.
Earlier this year it was announced that China overtook the United States to be the world's largest energy consumer, as well as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Only balancing that growth in coal usage slightly, in April we learned that for the first time the expansion of renewable energy in China outpaced the growth in coal.
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More on Coal:
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Good News: China's Renewable Energy Growth Now Outpacing Coal