Coal exports surpass billion ton mark, registering all-time record

WORLDWIDE electricity generation from coal hit record highs in 2023, while thermal coal exports surpassed 1 billion tons for the first time as coal’s use in power systems continues to grow despite widespread efforts to cut back on fossil fuels.
The newswire said total thermal coal exports were 1.004 billion tons for the whole year, up by 62.5 million tons or 6.6% from 2022, citing data from shipping tracker Kpler.
Emissions from coal-fired electricity generation also hit new highs through October 2023, topping 7.85 billion tons of carbon dioxide and equivalent gases, around 66.7 million tons more than during the same period in 2022, according to Ember.
The continued expansion in coal use and emissions provides a stark reminder to climate trackers that the high-polluting power fuel remains integral in key power systems even as solar, wind and other clean energy sources are deployed at a record rate.
The footprint of coal mining and exports and its use in power generation is overwhelmingly concentrated in Asia, as many other parts of the world including Europe and North America have adopted measures to phase down the use of coal for power, said Reuters.
But even as the geographical area of coal use and trade is shrinking, the outright volumes of extraction, exports and consumption in power plants remains on a rising trajectory.