In its latest projections on global coal demand, issued last month, IEA said that by 2017 coal will come close to surpassing oil as the world's leading energy source, with every region of the world except the United States relying more heavily on the carbon-intensive energy resource.
In fact, the world will burn around 1.2 billion more tons of coal per year in 2017 than it does today -- an amount equal to the current coal consumption of Russia and the United States combined, IEA noted.
In a December commentary for the Huffington Post, IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven described the world's quickening pace of coal consumption as a "troubling paradox" given international efforts to address global climate change, which many scientists link to the accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from the burning of coal.
"To the degree that affordable coal has allowed hundreds of millions of people in emerging economies to enjoy the conveniences that the industrialized world began taking for granted long ago, its proliferation is a blessing," she wrote. "Yet for a society increasingly concerned about the amount of carbon it is sending into the atmosphere, the surge in coal burning is not good news."
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500