World coal production dropped the most on record in 2016, signaling major changes in coal demand around the world. According to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, 2016 marked the third consecutive drop in coal production, while also being the largest to date, but chances are the record will be broken again soon.
As China continues to look for ways to power its economic growth, it has also began to turn the page on coal and began exploring renewable energy sources. This has paid dividends in China becoming the world’s largest producer of clean energy, beating out the United States, with solar capacity increasing 79% to 78 gigawatts and wind energy expanding 15% to 149 gigawatts. However, according to BP’s metrics, all forms of renewable energy are accounted for, including biomass, geothermal as well as waste.
The US and China continue to house the world’s largest coal reserves with figures standing at 22.1% of the world’s total in the US and 21.4% in China. The next largest reserves were in Russia 14.1% and Australia 12.7%. China also had saw a decline in diesel usage as heavy machinery was less relied on for the first time in decades. However, experts expect it to bounce back slightly as the wealth created in China will result in people driving their cars further and relying on planes and therefore jet fuel. Oil consumption has also slowed with China’s increased consumption rate standing at 2.7%, a decrease from their 5.5% growth over the 2005-2015 timeframe. However, China and the US alone still account for 32.6% of the world’s total oil consumption.
The world seems focused on combatting climate change and implementing new methods to produce energy since President Trump pulled out of the Paris Accords, with China as well as Europe doing more to promote change. With these new initiatives, world production of renewable energies is sure to skyrocket in the next few years, and it is possible that soon we will begin to see decreasing levels of Carbon emissions, as this is the third year straight there has been no global growth in emissions.