This could be world-changing news. According to Xinhua, the Chinese State media agency : ” China’s coal consumption growth slowed in 2013, with the price of coal declining, according to the China National Coal Association “
Several factors are explaining this : old inefficient coal-fired plants are being closed and replaced by more efficient ones, environmental protection is being strengthened and the economic growth of the country as a whole is slowing down.
As a result, coal consumption in China grew by 2.6 percent only last year, a huge change from the 9% or more annual growth witnessed in 2009.
Coal burning has doubled between 2002 and 2010, from around 850 Mtoe (million tonnes oil equivalent) to 1713.5 Mtoe in 2010 according to the BP Statistical Review. (source)
No doubt the future carbon tax will increase this slowing trend. I noted in a previous post in September 2013 that coal consumption in China could peak soon.
Business Green notes that ” As a result, growing numbers of investors around the world have raised questions about the long-term attractiveness of coal investments “
I guess that what is bad news for Big Coal investors is great news for the rest of the world. However, one should not think that China will ditch coal for good before anytime soon.