World coal usage is skyrocketing because of rising demand in China and India. At the World Energy Congress yesterday, energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie stated that coal would surpass oil as the key fuel for the global economy by 2020 despite global government policies to reduce carbon emissions. With the rising demand for energy in China and India, experts predict there’s no stopping the world from being pushed further down the hydrocarbon hole as we move towards the next decade.
In 2010, Wood Mackenzie said that the global demand for oil practically doubled over the last 10 years to 4,000 million tons of oil equivalent (or about 27,000,000 billion barrels); meanwhile coal only grew by 100 to 3,600 Mtoe. By the next decade, Wood Mackenzie predicts coal usage will grow by 25 percent to 4,500 Mtoe, overtaking oil, which will then sit at 4,400 Mtoe.
The energy consultancy group foresees that China’s power requirements will jump from 5,000 Terawatts per hour in 2012 to 8,600TWh in 2020. Most likely, coal will be the most viable energy source in China as the U.S. eats up natural gas supplies, crude oil imports become more expensive, and renewable energy is unable to keep pace – in China at least. The same goes for India, but the rest of the world’s consumption of coal is expected to stay the same.
While coal has become a lot cleaner in recent years thanks to mesh bags capturing most of the soot and other particulates and a spray of water catching the sulfur before it rises into the sky to become sulfuric acid rain, it still adds more than its share of CO2 emissions.
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