"Global coal consumption rose 3 percent in 2013, despite efforts in some places to scale back use of the carbon-heavy fuel. Why is it hard to stop depending on coal for energy?"
"US President Barack Obama may be engaging in a “war on coal” with carbon regulations intended to shrink coal’s share of energy production, but worldwide, coal is in its strongest position in decades. In 2013, enough coal was burned to meet 30.1 percent of the world’s energy demands -- its highest share since 1970, according to new data from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.
The findings are striking because of trends that appear to be pushing coal to the sidelines: An abundance of natural gas in the United States has utilities switching away from coal; Europe’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have led to a high penetration of renewables in electricity markets; and China leads the world in annual installations of solar and wind.
But despite those headlines, coal still dominates. In 2013, coal consumption increased by 3 percent, making it the fastest growing fossil fuel. A large reason for its success is its low cost – coal markets have experienced several years of declines in prices. Also, coal is relatively abundant and found around the world."