The inexorable rise of… coal


Yes, you read that right. With all the fuss about renewable energies like solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and so on, the energy source that saw its use increase the most recently is the dirtiest of them all : coal.

As the BP Statistical Review 2012 reports : ” Coal was again the fastest growing fossil fuel with predictable consequences for carbon emissions; it now accounts for 30.3% of global energy consumption, the highest share since 1969 ”

Not so long ago, coal accounted for a quarter of the global primary energy, and it was bad enough… I am not sure we will ever be able to save ourselves from catastrophic climate change…

Renewables – without hydro – might be increasing quickly, they still represent 2.1 percent of the global energy mix. Sure, they tripled since 2001 as they represented 0.7 percent by then, but it’s still pretty much nothing.

Sure solar PV capacity grew by 86 percent in a year, but it’s still tiny, same for wind power, even if it grew by 25 percent.

Back to coal, if the United States are using it less and less, Asian nations are fueling their massive economic growth with the environmental ennemy number one. This is why some American activists and climate hawks have been willing to stop coal exports in their country…

Greenhouse gases emissions keep on rising. Meanwhile, some countries decided to stop using nuclear, a low carbon energy source. I can’t stress enough how this decision is wrong headed as climate gets warmer and weirder.

The BP energy outlook 2030, a business as usual scenario is a recipe for disaster on climate and mankind alike as the world would still be heavily reliant on fossil fuels. (which would still represent more than 80 percent of the energy primary sources)

Let’s hope ending fossil fuels subsidies and enacting a global carbon tax could change all that, and this as soon as possible…

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *