Despite Obama climate tantrum, global coal use to increase 17.5% over next 5 years

The Wall Street Journal reports:

At the same time, China’s coal consumption soared to 4.33 billion tons last year, up from 2.97 billion tons in 2007. Global demand for coal is currently about eight billion tons a year. Officials in India, which uses coal to produce more than half its electricity, recently said they intend to boost coal imports to avoid power outages that have hit the country.

“The world will continue to consume fossil fuels at an increasing rate in the coming decades regardless of potential unilateral action by the United States,” Brett Harvey, chief executive of Pittsburgh-based Consol Energy Inc., CNX -2.97% which produces both coal and natural gas, said in an emailed statement. He said he doesn’t think Mr. Obama’s climate proposal aligns with “energy realities”…

Gregory Boyce, chief executive of St. Louis-based Peabody Energy Corp., BTU -3.26% noted on Wednesday that global consumption of coal is expected to grow by about 1.4 billion metric tons over the next five years.

In the U.S., experts say it would take decades to develop enough capacity from other fuel sources to supplant coal. Last year, cheap natural gas pushed electricity generation from coal down to 37%, but coal has rebounded to about 40% this year as natural-gas prices have increased.

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