"Global emissions associated with coal burning are on track to hit a new record in 2022, underscoring the challenge of phasing out the world’s most carbon-intensive fuel.
Coal generation needs to fall precipitously for the planet to have a chance at reaching net-zero emissions. But 2022 has seen rising coal generation in Europe and India, as both regions struggled with the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Global coal generation likely would be even higher if not for an economic lull in China, the world’s largest coal market. The United States is the sole major economy to continue to see sharp declines in coal use.
The figures highlight a difficult truth for the world’s climate efforts: While the fuel’s decline in the United States and Europe over the last decade has generated a tidal wave of headlines, global coal use has remained largely flat due to a growing fleet of coal plants in Asia.
“Global coal use and emissions have essentially plateaued at a high level, with no definitive signs of an imminent reduction,” the International Energy Agency concluded in a report released this month. Climbing coal use in 2022, the agency added, is “a worrying sign of how far off track the world is in its efforts to put emissions into decline towards net zero — especially the narrow but achievable goal of doing so by 2050.”"