Photo: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

The Center for Strategic and International Studies' Nikos Tsafos looked at coal demand trends and comes to a sobering conclusion in a new analysis: "Unless Asia can find other energy sources to meet its needs, our efforts to curb CO2 emissions from coal will likely fail."

Why it matters: Coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel. Cutting global CO2 emissions enough to prevent high levels of warming will probably fail absent deep cuts in coal demand, or widespread deployment of CO2-trapping systems that are in their commercial infancy.

The big picture: Tsafos' short paper, based on BP's robust annual energy statistics report, explores how coal demand in Asia goes well beyond China's status as the world's biggest user.

  • China's use is lower than it was five years ago, and India's rising use is much discussed.
  • But Tsafos explores a "dynamic" group of other Asian nations, including Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Pakistan, where demand collectively rose by 45 percent in the last decade.
  • This is counteracting the reduction in coal consumption in the U.S. and elsewhere outside Asia.

The bottom line: Curbing this coal use in order to meet climate goals is an immense challenge, given the hurdles to switching to gas, while more effort is needed to boost renewables in those Asian regions too, Tsafos writes.

Go deeper

Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 18,643,633 — Total deaths: 703,127 — Total recoveries — 11,206,409Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 p.m. ET: 4,811,128 — Total deaths: 157,690 — Total recoveries: 1,528,979 — Total tests: 58,239,438Map.
  3. Public health: Florida surpasses 500,000 confirmed casesFauci calls U.S. coronavirus testing delays "totally unacceptable."
  4. Business: America's next housing crisis.
  5. States: Virginia launches contact tracing app using specs from Apple and Google.
  6. Politics: White House, Democrats remain "trillions of dollars apart" on stimulus talks.
43 mins ago - World

How new tech raises the risk of nuclear war

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some experts believe the risk of the use of a nuclear weapon is as high now as it has been since the Cuban missile crisis.

The big picture: Nuclear war remains the single greatest present threat to humanity — and one that is poised to grow as emerging technologies, like much faster missiles, cyber warfare and artificial intelligence, upset an already precarious nuclear balance.

White House, Democrats remain "trillions of dollars apart" on stimulus talks

Meadows and Mnuchin. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Trump administration and Democrats have not agreed to any "top-line numbers" and remain "trillions of dollars apart" on coronavirus stimulus negotiations, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Wednesday.

The state of play: Meadows told reporters, "At this point we’re either going to get serious about negotiating and get an agreement in principle or — I’ve become extremely doubtful that we’ll be able to make a deal if it goes well beyond Friday.”