Coal

King Coal to Expand Reign, Says International Energy Agency

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Once and future fuel monarch

For those worried about man-made global warming produced chiefly by loading up the atmosphere with extra carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, the new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) will stoke their fears. The IEA projects:

Coal's share of the global energy mix continues to rise, and by 2017 coal will come close to surpassing oil as the world's top energy source, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today as it released its annual Medium-Term Coal Market Report (MCMR).

Although the growth rate of coal slows from the breakneck pace of the last decade, global coal consumption by 2017 stands at 4.32 billion tonnes of oil equivalent (btoe), versus around 4.40 btoe for oil, based on IEA medium-term projections. The IEA expects that coal demand will increase in every region of the world except in the United States, where coal is being pushed out by natural gas.

Of all the fossil fuels, burning coal produces the most carbon dioxide per unit of energy. The accompanying IEA Factsheet adds:

  • Coal demand is growing everywhere but the United States. The trend of the last decade continued in 2011, with coal supplying near half of the incremental primary energy supply globally. Coal demand grew 4.3% in 2011, or 304 million tonnes (mt). Chinese demand grew by 233 mt. The only region where coal demand declined was the United States. That drop is neither policy-driven nor a consequence of recession but rather the result of the availability of cheap gas.
  • Even though coal demand growth is slowing, coal's share of the global energy mix is still rising, and by 2017 coal will come close to surpassing oil as the world's top energy source. The world will burn around 1.2 billion more tonnes of coal per year by 2017 compared with today. That's more than the current annual coal consumption of the United States and Russia combined.
  • China has become the largest coal importer in the world. In 2009, China became a net coal importer for the first time. In 2011, it became the largest coal importer, surpassing Japan, which had held the position for decades. Chinese imports (including Hong Kong) reached 204 mt in 2011 and they continued to grow in 2012.

It seems a bit churlish of environmentalists to attack fracking, since cheap natural gas produced by that technology is doing more to lower U.S. carbon emissions than all of the expensive solar and wind power combined.

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41 responses to “King Coal to Expand Reign, Says International Energy Agency

  1. Well, he was a merry old soul. And tis the season.

  2. btoe for oil

    *confused dog stare*

    1. billion tonnes of oil equivalent (btoe)

      1. ok, I should have seen the “for oil” and didn’t.

        *note to self, read the ENTIRE post*

        1. I read it as “of” too, not that I’m any less obfused now.

      2. My issue was not with decoding the acronym.

        Oil equivalent of…..oil. Alrighty, then.

  3. Any chance we could dig up all of West Virginia and sell it China?

    1. Part of it is strikingly beautiful. We should keep that part.

      1. 1. Lift up the rug
        2. Sweep out the crud
        3. Profit & Scenery (admittedly, the scenery will be at a slightly lower elevation)

      2. What if we just sell its residents to China for fuel?

        1. Why do you hate jobs?

          Obviously we should be developing the WV lipo infrastructure, then selling biodiesel to china.

          1. Or soap, even.

  4. Why do environmentalists hate poor people?

    Coal is a cheap and abundant source of energy without which America wouldn’t have been able to grow its industrial base as efficiently as we have.

    Why do rich elitists want to deny the same prosperity to the third world?

    1. Your question is incorrectly worded. It should be “why do environmentalists hate people?” And the answer, like with so many things, is projection. They hate themselves. So they hate all people.

    2. Because prospering people won’t assemble iPods for peanuts?

    3. Not to mention that fly ash and gypsum are value added products of coal pollution mitigation. So most coal plants are now happy to do particulate and SOx mitigation and sell additional products at a markup.

  5. It seems a bit churlish of environmentalists to attack fracking, since cheap natural gas produced by that technology is doing more to lower U.S. carbon emissions than all of the expensive solar and wind power combined.

    This is just von Mises’ “Revolt against Reason.” Liberals want to find a loophole in the laws of economics that will allow their ponzi schemes, redistribution schemes and green jobs theories to end in something other than disaster. Then they get pissy when you try to ascertain that they do in fact understanding Econ 101 so you can discern if you’re dealing with a denialist or someone who’s truly ignorant.

    1. Of course for all the time spent complaining about green tech subidies, you hardly ever see mention of the subsidies for “clean coal” that are orders of magnitude larger. Because if a Democrat protects their uncompetetive donors from cheap natural gas, that’s communism, but if a Republican protects their uncompetetive donors from cheap natural gas, that’s free-market capitalism.

      1. Re: Stormy Dragon,

        you hardly ever see mention of the subsidies for “clean coal” that are orders of magnitude larger.

        And for some unfathomable reason, you cling to this notion that people here care enough about this supposed subsidy on “clean coal” over any other subsidy, to the point of seeing the evil in all but not that one. Only because it is not “mentioned.”

        You should consider changing your medication, or maybe stop taking it altogether and take your chances in the real world, Stormy.

      2. It couldn’t possibly be because green subsidies are popular at the moment, now could it? TEAM BLUE troll has a sad.

      3. SD: I am against all subsidies period – green, clean coal, fossil fuel, farm, nuclear, etc. Must I always repeat my opposition in ALL posts dealing with any sort of subsidies FOREVER?

        1. It’s worse than that, Ron. You could have it tattooed to your face and those who want to ignore that fact will, because in their world, we’re not on Team BLUE therefore we must be on Team RED and in favor of our own forms of corporate welfare.

        2. Must I always repeat my opposition in ALL posts dealing with any sort of subsidies FOREVER?

          It’s the libertarian’s burden.

        3. Maybe you should have a new disclaimer at the end of each of your posts, like you have had about once owning Monsanto stocks (IIRC).

          Actually, it should just be a link to an incredibly long list of disclaimers covering everything you can think of.

      4. We’re not Republicans, and 90% of the people commenting here don’t support any subsidies. Find another red herring, dumbass.

        1. Plus, no on is arguing in favor of more oil subsidies. The reason we talk more often about green energy subsidies is because one political party is trying to increase the money spent on green energy, and have made that a major part of their platform.

          When Republicans start talking about the need to crank up oil subsidies, you’ll probably see more articles here about that.

  6. *note to self, read the ENTIRE post*

    Piffle.

  7. Your butt hurts, doesn’t it, Stormy?

  8. It seems a bit churlish of environmentalists to attack fracking, since cheap natural gas produced by that technology is doing more to lower U.S. carbon emissions than all of the expensive solar and wind power combined.

    Be reminded, Ron, that environmentalists couldn’t care less about the positive effects of an energy technology on costs AND carbon dioxide emissions. Even if Natural Gas was supplied by benign space aliens, the fact is that such benefits go against their perception that man should be erased from the face of the earth:

    “McKibben is a biocentrist, and so am I. We are not interested in the utility of a particular species, or free-flowing river, or ecosystem, to mankind. They have intrinsic value, more value – to me – than another human body, or a billion of them.”

    These enviromentalists need expensive food; expensive energy and expensive everything, in order to make it unaffordable for poorer people to live, leave aside being able to afford to live comfortably. They all subscribe to a Malthusian tragedy of billions of undesirables being born and destroying the pristine sceneries they worship. They want us DEAD. Understand that.

    1. Even if Natural Gas was supplied by benign space aliens

      Importing extraterrestrial carbon wouldn’t be very green.

      1. Re: fried wylie,

        Importing extraterrestrial carbon wouldn’t be very green.

        You would not need to extract it from the ground in that case, FW. That seems green enough to me, looking at all costs.

        And I mean real costs, not the made-up faux costs that Tony-esque nincompoops call “externalities.”

        1. whoops. I did have it in my head as an additional source, not a replacement.

          Still, I don’t see why we should import carbon when we have more than we need right here. It’s just a matter of effectively harnessing it as an energy storage mechanism, rather than an energy “source”. just like the concept of the hydrogen economy. hydrocarbons only look like a “source” because we didn’t have to put the effort into storing that energy.

          Fuck solar panels and batteries when Mother Nature has already developed very mature solar capture and storage technologies.

        2. My thinking lately is that space-elevator/launch-loop tech is the key to orbital solar power.

          Beaming the power down as any variety of light is inefficient and potentially dangerous (according to SimCity). Instead of enormous PV sattelites, let’s get a bunch of algae reactors up there. Most of the water content could be recycled in-situ by solar-baking the resulting biomass before its return to earth. Just need to ship up the solid contents, possibly in an easy to mix “just add to water” packet form.

          Just need to get the cost of resupplying the C-N-P-K cheap enough.

          1. Most of the water content could be recycled

            I say, completely forgetting how photosynthesis works….

            Ok, so shipping water into orbit would probably be prohibitively expensive even with a “cheap” lifting method.

          2. Beaming the power down as any variety of light is inefficient and potentially dangerous (according to SimCity).

            Perhaps SimCity was wrong? (scroll to page 11 of the pdf.) I’m not aware of any environmental effects from an SPS beaming power to an Earth-based rectenna.

            No doubt some will arise though, if a miracle appears and we actually get one operating.

    2. They have intrinsic value, more value – to me – than another human body, or a billion of them.”

      And yet, he has not off’d himself. Must not believe what he writes.

  9. It seems a bit churlish of environmentalists to attack fracking, since cheap natural gas produced by that technology is doing more to lower U.S. carbon emissions than all of the expensive solar and wind power combined.

    If lowering emissions were their true cause then you would have a point. But it isn’t. They’re more concerned with the fact that they won’t be receiving any of the graft from Big Wind/Sun in the form of “Consultation Fees” as a result of fracking and the natural gas revolution we’ve seen over the last 5-10 years.

  10. I thought the sulfur released by coal is a coolant. A year ago, there was a glut of articles about how Chinese increases in coal consumption are the reason that there’s been minimal global warming over the last 15 years.

    Why would increased coal consumption be a problem? Shouldn’t it mitigate the effects of global warming?

    1. Re: iggy,

      I thought the sulfur released by coal is a coolant. Why would increased coal consumption be a problem? Shouldn’t it mitigate the effects of global warming?

      Why do you hate the fish so much, iggy?

  11. I just don’t understand why the IEA has any credibility. IEA’s alarmist reports drove the price of crude up in mid-2008. Here’s the link to the IEA’s executive summary released in fall of 2008:

    http://www.iea.org/Textbase/npsum/weo2008sum.pdf

    The alarmist tone is still there. And the projections of the need for oil production to increase by 5 million barrels per day on an annual basis from 2007 to 2016 have so far been completely wrong.

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