It seems fossil fuels are starting this new year with a lot of bad news. It is not only a treehugger’s hope and dream but also an incresingly pressing reality. Let us start with reviewing coal.
The most striking headline that I came accross was that the Financial Times published an obituary of King Coal. Yes. You read that right. Then Climate Progress reported earlier this month that a major US coal company is filling for bankruptcy over its massive 4.5 billion debt.
Meanwhile, China, the world’s largest coal consumer, announced that it won’t approve any new coal mine for the next three years. Among the reasons for such a move are quoted slowing economy, increasing competition from renewables and nuclear and of course, the massive air pollution that is plaguing the country.
Overall, the global situation for coal, the number one environmental ennemy, is dire as we may have reached peak coal already, and this more than ten years ahead of schedule. This is explained largely by China. As Climate Progress stated :
China’s coal consumption dropped nearly 3 percent in 2014 and at least 5 percent in 2015. One analyst in Beijing projected recently, “coal consumption will drop by between 2.5 percent and 3 percent in 2016.”
Oil is not doing exactly great either as prices were at their 12-year lowest prices, below $30. I thought I would never see such low prices again… The Wall Street Journal explains why : slowing Chinese economy, expected Iranian production, a global over supply and a decreasing demand. To the point of some analysts believing that oil is entering the end game…
Kees van der Leun recently tweeted that between 2010 and 2014, fossil fuels were seeing their consumption increase almost ten times slower than renewables :
Meanwhile, renewable energy sources like wind and solar just keep on blossoming and sprouting all around the world as they are getting cheaper and cheaper. To the point that 2016 might be the year of renewables. An example among many, Bloomberg reported that China plans to increase wind and solar power capacity by more than 21% in 2016.