Coal mining is the process of extracting coal from the ground. Coal is valued for its energy content and since the 1880s has been widely used to generate electricity. Steel and cement industries use coal as a fuel for extraction of iron from iron ore and for cement production. (Evgenii Parilov/Alamy Stock Photo)

Latest report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and a new forecast from Goldman Sachs says global coal and oil demand will hit record levels in the next two years.

The IEA said coal power is on track to hit a new global record this year, that a rebound in economic growth could drive worldwide coal demand to an all-time high in 2022.


The report adds that the amount of electricity generated from coal power plants has increased by 9% this year after a surge in fossil fuel demand to fuel the recovery from Covid lockdowns.

The agency also found that global demand for coal, including cement and steelmaking, rose by 6% overall this year.

“Coal is the single largest source of global carbon emissions, and this year’s historically high level of coal power generation is a worrying sign of how far off track the world is in its efforts to put emissions into decline towards net zero,” said Fatih Birol, IEA executive director.

Following the same trend, Goldman Sachs says average global oil demand will hit record levels in 2022 and 2023 as the rising demand for aviation and transport and infrastructure construction demand rebounds.

“You’ve already had record-high demand right before this latest variant, and you’re adding higher jet demand, and the global economy is still growing,” Damien Courvalin, Goldman’s head of Energy Research.

The bank also forecasts steady growth in global oil demand until the end of this decade to about 106 million barrels per day.

My take:

Burning coal, oil and gas produces large amounts of carbon dioxide that drive the global warming crisis, including climate change.

This may sound gloomy, but there is some glimmer of hope because today, we burn fossil fuels more efficiently than we used to.

We are also starting to see more global economies make major progress in scaling up renewable energy deployments.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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