Coal phase-out may take longer than countries are willing to admit – report – by Staff ( – November 23, 2021)

A new report by Wood Mackenzie states that despite countries agreeing to phase down coal at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, thermal coal demand is expected to rise until the mid-2020s.

“Under our base case Energy Transition Outlook (ETO), which is aligned to a 2.7°C warming TO scenario, demand for thermal coal will peak in 2025 at just over 7 billion tonnes, falling by just 5% to 6.7 billion tonnes in 2030,” Julian Kettle, who is senior vice president and vice-chair of metals and mining at WoodMac, wrote in the report.

“However, to achieve our AET-2, 2°C pathway, demand for thermal coal will need to fall by a billion tonnes by 2030 and an AET-1.5 pathway removes a further 1.9 billion tonnes of demand. This is a dramatic 2.4-billion-tonne reduction compared with the current base case peak in 2025.”

In Kettle’s view, the scale of the challenge of such a dramatic reduction of coal demand should not be underestimated given the implications for electricity supply in an increasingly electrified world.

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