Global Coal Production Takes a Dive

Jun 16, 2017

By Matt Smith

If the Trump administration wants to bring back American coal jobs, it’s got its work cut out for it.

Global coal production plunged by the largest percentage on record in 2016 amid flat demand for energy and inroads by cleaner sources of power, the oil major BP reported Tuesday. Coal production worldwide fell by more than 6 percent as the black rock’s share of world energy production fell to its lowest level since 2004, according to BP’s annual Statistical Review of World Energy.

Slower economic growth in China and a move away from coal in North America and Europe dimmed the fuel’s prospects, resulting in a second straight year of decline. Worldwide, coal’s share of the world’s energy consumption fell for the second year in a row, down 1.7 percent to 28.1 percent.

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15 comments on “Global Coal Production Takes a Dive

  • @OP- If the Trump administration wants to bring back American coal jobs, it’s got its work cut out for it.

    Ah! but Trump campaign claims don’t need to work in the real world! They have met the objectives of producing sound-bites, impressing gullibles with votes, exercising Trump’s ego, and letting him cruise the world promoting “great deals” for his businesses on tax-payer funded expenses!

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  • @OP – Global coal production plunged by the largest percentage on record in 2016 amid flat demand for energy and inroads by cleaner sources of power, the oil major BP reported Tuesday. Coal production worldwide fell by more than 6 percent as the black rock’s share of world energy production fell to its lowest level since 2004

    . . . . . and its future prospects have been looked at in 188 pages of considerable detail!

    Stranded Assets and Thermal Coal –
    An analysis of environment-related risk exposure – January 2016

    The Stranded Assets Programme at the University of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment was established in 2012 to understand environment-related risks driving asset stranding in different sectors and systemically.
    We research how environment-related risks might emerge and strand assets; how different risks might be interrelated; assess their materiality (in terms of scale, impact, timing, and likelihood); identify who will be affected; and what impacted groups can do to pre-emptively manage and monitor risk.

    We recognise that the production of high-quality research on environment-related risk factors is a necessary, though insufficient, condition for these factors to be successfully integrated into decision-making.

    Consequently, we also research the barriers that might prevent integration, whether in financial institutions, companies, governments, or regulators, and develop responses to address them. We also develop the data, analytics, frameworks, and models required to enable integration for these different stakeholders.

    The programme is based in a world leading university with a global reach and reputation. We are the only academic institution conducting work in a significant and coordinated way on stranded assets. We work with leading practitioners from across the investment chain (e.g. actuaries, asset owners, asset managers, accountants, investment consultants, lawyers), with firms and their management, and with experts from a wide range of related subject areas (e.g. finance, economics, management, geography, anthropology, climate
    science, law, area studies) within the University of Oxford and beyond.

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  • The fault in the little article is its failure to note that China’s energy intensity (use of energy per GDP) is falling at a rate (about 5% p.a) through improvements in energy efficiency. This implies that its Carbon Intensity per GDP is falling at the same rate as its GDP is rising about 7%. Much energy efficiency is still to be gained with a more thorough-going upgrading of the old industries and the substitution of many for more modern businesses. This will see an improvement in this rate of decline of energy intensity.

    This is growth without extra Carbon and as China are committed to all new energy provision plans to be non fossil, (and as 40% of existing coal power plant plans have now been canned as of one year ago, currently leaving 60% planned which may proceed) this says this wasn’t a flat top because of a brief downturn in growth, but a genuine turning point or near turning point with a sustainable downward trend.

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  • Electric car lifespans are now pushing out and out, potentially quadrupling with re-manufacture, (unless they are driven by Richard Hammond). Though an investment they win again and again in both running and capital costs, resource costs and total energy costs. The trick, make them classically beautiful like the Model 3. Who would sell their E-type if it was also great for the planet and kept its value?

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  • Ollie

    I was in Detroit at the 1997 SAE Congress delivering a paper and in the show of new tech and concepts cars saw the floor pan of a Lotus Elise tricked out with 100bhp (75kW) Zytek electric motors at each wheel and was stunned. I knew electric cars were the future. You could see the elegance of the concept. The perfect control and energy recycling from such simple mechanicals. The guys who formed early Tesla saw it too and when GM stumbled over their EV they were in making roadsters from Lotus bodies. Its been fun watching from wings.

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  • Hi Phil,

    I’ve been keeping up with ev’s on Fully Charged have you checked it out?


    Of course I can’t afford any sort of EV at the moment (other than my electric push bike which now has over 2000km on it riding to work every day). I’m actually planning on cannibalizing a couple of old push bikes in my shed and re-welding them into a cargo bike similar to this.


    Of course it’ll be a little rougher around the edges but I should be able to get a electric wheel hub kit and battery for about $600. I basically want to be able to have a supermarket trolley’s worth of stuff in it so I can get by without the car. My long term plan as petrol becomes more expensive is to use the car very, very little. Pretty hard to do away with entirely in Australia, but we don’t need it that much if I can get decent storage on a bike and enough power to assist up the hills. Anyone considering an ebike, I got a cheapish one it’s great but having ridden since a hub one I would if I’d done it again got a better bike and converted it with a kit the hub driven ones are great it would have been just as cheap and I’d have better quality suspension etc.

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  • The other thing about electric cars that people don’t quite appreciate about the performance of electric cars. A 12 cylinder petrol engine at idle needs to suck in a given amount of fuel air mixture just to run. So in a performance car with say a large 5 liter engine that is 5 litres of fuel air mixture every revolution now obviously the revs can be low, but it can never be zero so even conservative driving in a high performance car will not be fuel efficient. You can have however a Tesla which is ridiculously fast but that if driven normally is very, very cheap to run. Drive it like a lunatic of course and your range won’t be good but you really can have th best of both worlds, a peppy but efficient car.

    Oh and performance nuts, a electric car just smashed the Nuremberg circuit by 6 seconds.

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  • Ah post appeared at last with the Admirable Robert LLewellyn. He’s good and so is his show. His one on flow batteries recently was excellent.

    I’m so impressed by the bike thing….I must catch up….a bigger hub motor I think…

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  • Hi Phil,

    Yes the flow batteries are yet another example of an excellent idea that my country just doesn’t seem to be able to think clearly enough to get behind. With our current energy crisis. By energy crisis that is we are selling all our natural gas over seas so we are now charging through the nose for it domestically (because no government in-spite of subsidizing the transportation and docks, causing massive environmental damage to the reef didn’t think to require any amount to be held aside for domestic use. So we have no problem potentially ruining our farmland to extract every last ounce of gas and at the same time literally not have enough gas to keep the lights on while shipping it overseas for it to be burned and produce further climate change which Australia (already massively dry and arid) cannot afford to deal with. But we will not have a carbon tax because it will raise power costs (which is doesn’t) and our federal government won’t invest in clean alternatives like this invented locally so we can have sustainable power. Sigh.

    Also very impressive was the one he did a couple of years ago where he goes through exactly how much electricity (how much coal is burned and carbon released) refining crude oil to the various grades of fuel even before it emits it from the tail pipe. You’ve got to love his enthusiasm and the technology, makes me green (poor pun I know) with envy almost every week.

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  • Having disparaged green energy for quite some time, I see Trump’s discontinuous mind thinks there could be some support to be gained by proposing the use of solar panels! – Albeit on a totally barmy scheme!

    US President Donald Trump has told supporters that his proposed wall along the border with Mexico could have solar panels fixed to it.

    Addressing a rally in Iowa, he said the panels would provide cheap energy and help to pay for the controversial wall.

    He suggested the plan was his own, saying: “Pretty good imagination, right? Good? My idea.”

    However, solar panels have been included in designs for the wall submitted by companies.

    During his campaign, Mr Trump pledged to build a wall along the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration and drug trafficking.

    He insisted he would make Mexico foot the bill, but President Enrique Peña Nieto has dismissed the idea.

    Mr Trump told cheering supporters at a campaign-style rally in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday that he would “give you an idea that nobody has heard about yet”.

    “We’re thinking of something that’s unique, we’re talking about the southern border, lots of sun, lots of heat.
    We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall, so it creates energy and pays for itself.
    And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good, right?”

    Remind me again! – On an East- West climb-resistant, damage resistant wall, in the Northern hemisphere, which side of it does the sun shine on, and service engineers need access to?

    He added: “Solar wall, panels, beautiful. I mean actually think of it, the higher it goes the more valuable it is.
    Pretty good imagination right? Good? My idea.”

    More than 200 companies are believed to have responded to an invitation from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to submit designs for the wall.
    Among them was one from Gleason Partners in Las Vegas that proposed a wall of steel, cement and solar panels.

    I suppose this COULD be HIS idea, IF he has not bothered to look at the submitted plans from tendering companies!

    It does rather sound like the usual sort of half-backed idea Trump comes up with! – Especially the bit about “Mexico paying less”!! 🙂

    Of course to be efficient, solar panels should not be vertical but need to slope!

    That could provide external fittings to tie ropes to, or a wall with a nice sloping incline for climbers on the southern side!

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