Apr 22, 2021 - World

China's persistent coal demand highlights stakes of Biden's climate summit

Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The chart above shows one reason cutting global emissions is so hard: the persistence of coal, especially in China, where demand for the most carbon-intensive fuel grew even during the pandemic.

The big picture: The International Energy Agency, in a report this week, said it sees global coal demand increasing by 4.5% in 2021 after last year's decline.

What they're saying: "The power sector accounted for just over 40% of the drop in coal use in 2020, but the rapid increase in coal-fired generation in Asia sees it account for three-quarters of the rebound in 2021," IEA said.

  • "[Natural] gas prices are also expected to rise in 2021, leading to some switching back to coal, notably in the United States and the European Union."

Catch up fast: Those findings are part of a wider IEA report we covered here that projects global energy-related CO2 emissions will rise almost 5% this year.

Go deeper: U.S. and China agree to take joint climate action

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