The Coal Trader

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IEA forecasts record coal use amid renewables fantasy

The utter fantasy of wind and solar so-called renewable power generation has been shredded – and I mean, completely obliterated – by none other than the International Energy Agency itself.

Just a day or two after the 100,000 or so free-lunching main-chancers made their carbon dioxide-belching flights away from the fossil-fuelled 24/7 air-conditioned luxury of the Dubain desert, the IEA has disclosed the world has never burnt more coal than in 2023. The IEA expects global coal use to rise by 1.4 per cent this year to a new record high of 8.5bn tonnes.

And why? Because coal use in India has gone up a thumping 8 per cent and in China – the utterly unequalled mother-of-all coal users, in both steel-making and power generation – by 5 per cent. Truly, as the estimable John Hinderaker of the Power Line blog states it: this is ‘The Golden Age of Coal’.

Which really should not be a surprise to anyone who glances at the global prices for coal. Or the Australian budget, bulging with tens of billions of dollars from coal exports. And from gas. It would be a surprise of course to those who drank – and, like our minister for destroying our energy system, continue to drink – the wind and solar Kool-Aid.

Including of course the IEA itself, which long since ‘transitioned’ from being an objective analytical agency to an aggressively, and as consequence now completely incompetent, proselytising member of the climate cult.

Back in 2015, as the estimable Robert Bryce – a rational energy analyst, formerly at the Manhattan Institute think tank – notes: the IEA ponderously forecast that global coal use would fall to 5.5bn tonnes by 2020m.

Right. Forecast, down to 5.5bn tonnes. Reality, rising every year to 8.5bn tonnes.

Sort of reminds you of forecasts of the planet boiling. Or of our Bureau of Meteorology, which pretends to be able to forecast the climate in 2050, telling us we were in for a waterless summer. Who are you going to believe Queenslanders (and indeed Victorians)? The ‘experts’? Or your lying eyes? And wet heads and feet? But back to the estimable Robert Bryce.

Fossil fuels, coal, gas and oil, currently generate more than 15 times – yes, 15 times – the output of all global wind and solar, he notes. Even tripling wind and solar – an almost unimaginable logistical task, almost akin to Victoria’s tunnel-to-nowhere boondoggle – would barely get the split up to 20 per cent wind and solar and 80 per cent fossil fuels.

But as Bryce notes, three countries – China, India, and our neighbour Indonesia – did not sign the COP28 tripling commitment.

Instead, they are constructing, right now, over 182,000MW of new coal-fired generation. That’s about five times our entire electricity grid. And behind that actual plant construction is another 355,000MW of further coal-fired generation, announced, permitted or pre-permitted.

It’s also the case, as Bryce details, that new coal plants far exceed the ‘old-is-sexy again’ move globally to go nuclear. China and India are building both, but five times as much coal as nuclear. One way or other, they intend to keep the lights on.