article The world is set to double its coal use over the next 25 years, as new technologies to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere allow the coal industry to keep up with demand for electricity, a report has found.
Coal is the world’s largest fuel, and the burning of the material contributes more than 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with the US alone accounting for more than half.
In 2020, China is expected to increase coal use by more than 100 million tonnes a year, more than doubling its share of the world market, according to the Carbon Tracker Initiative.
The US is set for an increase of more than 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year by 2030, with China on track to overtake the US by 2020.
The report, published by the Carbon Forum, found that a doubling of coal use would have the biggest economic, social and environmental benefits.
“Coal-fired electricity generation is a critical way to ensure the global transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Daniel Stuckey, Carbon Tracker’s senior researcher.
“Coal use has historically been the main source of global CO2 emissions, but recent technological developments, such as new coal-burning power stations, have significantly reduced the number of tons of CO 2 emitted each year.”
The report said the transition to more efficient technology and energy storage, including electric cars and renewable energy, would reduce CO2 output by 50% by 2050, while the carbon footprint of electric vehicles and renewables would double by 2100.
“If we want to meet our climate targets, it is essential that we start now,” said the Carbon Chamber’s head of global emissions, Chris Anderson.
“That means making sure that we invest in the technologies that will deliver the best chance of meeting our ambitious targets.”
But while coal is an important part of the energy mix, the Carbon Institute’s chief executive, Greg Barker, said it was not enough to reduce emissions alone.
“We need to increase the amount of coal we burn to power our economy, and we also need to find new ways to store and use that carbon,” he said.
“It’s about finding new technologies that can capture carbon emissions and store them in other forms, and then using those other technologies to reduce carbon emissions from the coal sector.”
The carbon emissions that coal contributes to the world economy can be seen in the form of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, the report found.
“With coal, we can see that CO2 contributes more to global warming than CO2 from other fuels combined,” said Barker.
“As coal plants become more efficient, they are able to use fewer fossil fuels, and therefore produce fewer CO2.”
But coal’s contribution is still substantial.””
It can also be seen as a major contributing factor to the loss of forests due to overgrazing, deforestation and other land degradation, and is the main driver of the ongoing global warming that is already happening.
“The Carbon Institute also pointed to the role of the Chinese government, which has increased its reliance on coal to meet its greenhouse gas targets, to limit the impact of carbon capture and storage.
The Carbon Forum’s annual report, released in April, warned that if China is not to reduce CO 2 emissions by 2030 from its existing level of 8.2 billion tonnes, it will need to cut its emissions by at least 20% over the same period.”
China will have to take dramatic action to cut carbon emissions by 2020 and 2030 to meet their 2020 climate targets,” said Anderson.”
By 2030, the average annual emissions from China will be over twice as much as the US.
“The Climate Action Tracker, which analysed data from around the world, found the US has been burning more than 10 billion tonnes of coal in the last two decades.
Australia’s emissions have been declining, while Britain is on track for a decline of about 1.5 million tonnes.
Germany has been on a trajectory of increasing coal use, while China has become the world leader in solar energy.”
For China, the US and the EU, coal will continue to be an important driver of global warming and will play a crucial role in meeting their 2020 and 2050 climate targets.
However, the United States will have the strongest environmental impacts from coal as well as other forms of energy.
“The United States is expected, along with Australia and Europe, to be the world energy leader in 2020 and 2025.”
The US has the greatest carbon footprint, and its contribution to the climate change is expected grow rapidly,” said Stuckeys.”
To reduce CO1 emissions, we need to reduce coal consumption in all sectors, especially the energy sector, but coal is a key part of this.