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Coal On The Rise

Jack Dini

Humans burned more coal last year than at any other time in history.

It was a bumper year in 2021, a bigger year in 2022, and possibly more glorious records for coal in 2023 and 2024. (1)

Couple this with the war in the Ukraine as countries scramble to replace Russian sources and it is evident that coal usage will continue to rise. (2)

So if anyone is thinking that ‘fossil fuels’ are dead, they should think again. The 2.6 billion people in India and China will continue to use ‘fossil fuels’ as their primary energy source until 2070. Even the most advanced European and Scandinavian countries are witnessing a revival of the ‘fossil fuel’ sector. (3)

Faced with turmoil, China is returning to its old habit of coal, no matter what damage it does to climate momentum.

Gone are the heady days in China of late 2020, when think tanks, newspapers and state run enterprises issued a flurry of optimistic outlooks and officials talked about completing the largest energy transition in mankind’s history by zeroing out emissions in the world’s biggest polluter by 2060.

Now, with fears of energy shortages growing around the world and concerns that rising coronavirus cases could hinder economic growth at home, the country’s leaders are doubling down on ‘fossil fuels’. (4)

The shift has been months in the making, Ever since a shortage of coal sparked widespread power curtailments in September and October, leaders have drummed home the message that the dirtiest ‘fossil fuel’ is also the most important to ensuring continued growth.

China has approved mining expansions that’s pushed output to record levels and started construction on new generators powered by fuel, even as such efforts are shunned in most other parts of the world. The National Development and Reform Commission, the nation’s top economic planner, wants to boost domestic production capacity by about 300 million tons.

China recorded its biggest increase in total energy consumption and coal use in a decade in 2021, as the economy recovered from COVID-19 slowdown a year earlier. Coal consumption in China rose 4.6 percent in 2021, also the strongest rate of growth in a decade. (5)

China is now digging up nearly 12 million tons of coal each and every day. If they keep this up it will be a “One Billion Ton” quarter and potentially nearly a 4-billion-ton year. That’s about 8 times Australia’s entire annual production and about six times the United States. (6)

China isn’t alone with increased coal consumption. Coal’s share in India’s power mix rose after five years of declines, underscoring Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s challenge to overhaul the nation’s energy sector and meet climate goals. (7)

In the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow last year, the nation joined neighbor China in resisting global action to phase out coal and had the language diluted to a ‘phase-down.’ The country has argued that the knee-jerk exit from coal could deprive millions of its citizens of access to affordable energy.

The Indian government has opened more coal mines and has allocated new mines to private players through auctions. India’s coal minister has asked the government’s coal productions arm, Coal India Limited, to meet an annual target of 1 billion tons by 2024. (8)

China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam plan to build more than 600 coal power units. This amounts to 80 percent of the world’s planned new coal plants. (9)

One of Europe’s biggest energy companies is preparing to bring a string of German coal power stations out of retirement as part of efforts to wean the country off Russian gas. These include plants that have been decommissioned, those that are scheduled to go off-grid this year, and others that are currently kept on standby. (10)

While other countries are building coal plants around the world, the United States is shuttering its coal fired power plants, despite having, by far, the world’s largest supply of coal. Between January 2017 and May 2019, the United States shuttered 50 coal fired plants, with 51 more shutdowns announced, bringing the total shutdowns to 289 since 2010. (11)

References

1. Joanna Nova, “Coal power to hit all time high in 2022 says IEA weeping,” joannenova.com.au, Janaury 12, 2022
2. Matt McGrath, “Climate change: madness to turn to fossil fuels because of Ukraine war,” finance.yahoo.com
3. Jacob Paul, “EU at mercy of Russian energy as bloc shamed for burning coal like no tomorrow,” express.co.uk, November 18, 2021
4. “Faced with turmoil, China turns to its old reliable—coal,” bloomberg.com/news, March 14, 2022
5. “China sees biggest growth in energy and coal use since 2011,” reuters.com, February 27, 2022
6. “Who loves coal? One week to Glasgow and China is suddenly digging up record amounts of coal,” iowaclimate.org, October 22, 2021
7. Rajesh Kuma Singh, “Coal’s comeback in India shows scale of climate challenge,” bloomberg.com, March 9, 2022
8. Vijay Jayaraj, “Fossil fuels surge after UN conference,” cornwallalliance.org, January 11, 2022
9. Joanne Nova, “Five Asian countries will build 600 coal plants, wreck world, but who cares? joannenova.com.au, July 3, 2021
10. Matt Oliver, “Germany to fire up mothballed coal power stations,” The Telegraph, March 15, 2022
11. Emma New burger, “President Joe Biden rejoins the Paris climate accord in the first move to tackle global warming,” cnbc.com, January 20, 2021
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6 COMMENTS

  1. Private companies in China are jointly creating a huge job crisis to oust Xi
    TFIGLOBAL News Desk by TFIGLOBAL News Desk
    April 3, 2022
    in China

    Chinese companies are laying off tens of thousands of workers as Beijing’s regulatory clampdowns weigh on the technology, education and property sectors. These were the sectors that offered higher salaries than other industries and helped drive economic growth.
    https://tfiglobalnews.com/2022/04/03/private-companies-in-china-are-jointly-creating-a-huge-job-crisis-to-oust-xi/

    6

    0

  2. A court in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has side-tracked a Chinese company from the Tenke Fungurume mine. The Chinese company, China Molybdenum, stands sidelined for at least six months from the mine which is the second-largest source of cobalt in the world.
    https://tfiglobalnews.com/2022/03/02/congo-kicks-out-chinese-company-from-one-of-the-worlds-biggest-copper-cobalt-mining-site/

    Yet, the Tenke Fungurume mine might just be just the tip of the iceberg. Remember, DRC produces 70 percent of the world’s cobalt. It is a critical mineral that should make the African country rich. The DRC is a poor country with a history of a devastating civil war and several years of corruption. Cobalt is the short-cut to its prosperity.

    But President Tshisekedi says it has failed to benefit the Congolese. Why? Well, 15 out of Congo’s 19 cobalt-producing mines were either China-owned or had a Chinese stake. No wonder, a vast majority of the cobalt produced in Congo flies out to China and gets used in making Chinese EV batteries.

    Now, the Congolese government has had enough of Chinese interference in the cobalt sector.

    Interesting because a number of companies in different countries are sitting up to make the batteries. They all need cobalt and copper.

    6

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  3. Trump said that Putin is a really smart leader. Well, he said this for a reason! Even before invading Ukraine, Putin had prepared himself to deal with the imminent sanctions. But it was the dumb leaders of the West who couldn’t match Putin’s shrewdness. Biden imposed, what he termed as “crippling” sanctions on Moscow and excitingly waited for the Russian economy to “blow up.”

    But much to Biden’s chagrin, that delusion never saw the light of the day. Now, consider Russia’s steps to shore up its currency—the Ruble. Russia, with three major steps, has effectively recovered the lost valuation of its currency. And now market experts say that the Russian Ruble is now more stable than the US dollar!

    https://tfiglobalnews.com/2022/03/31/by-pegging-gold-to-the-ruble-russia-has-just-wiped-out-the-dollars-clout-from-the-world-markets/https://tfiglobalnews.com/2022/03/31/by-pegging-gold-to-the-ruble-russia-has-just-wiped-out-the-dollars-clout-from-the-world-markets/

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  4. NATO attempts to undermine India and Quad in the Indo-Pacific
    Sanbeer Singh Ranhotra by Sanbeer Singh Ranhotra
    April 3, 2022

    NATO is a shady organization. First, it expanded eastward in Europe – breaking all promises made to the former Soviet Union that it will never do so, and now, it is looking to make an entry into the Indo Pacific. Mind you, NATO would have been welcomed with wide arms to the region had it not been playing its dirty games against select countries. However, at the behest of the Biden administration, NATO is looking to undercut the influence of India in this crucial region. New Delhi will not tolerate this.
    https://tfiglobalnews.com/2022/04/03/nato-attempts-to-undermine-india-and-quad-in-the-indo-pacific/

    5

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