The climate and energy security implications of coal demand and supply in Asia and Europe

The importance of the coal sector is often overlooked by the media when reviewing global energy. This is despite both its importance in many emerging economies and its impact on climate change. The current status and projections for coal use in Asia and Europe vary considerably. In Asia, growth in demand and availability of coal is resulting in its accelerated use. However, despite investment, production cannot keep up with demand, and coal trade in Asia is increasingly affecting international markets. In Europe, the environmental impacts of coal use, particularly CO2 but also particulates, are accelerating the closure of many power stations and delaying new build. Consequently, in most countries its contribution is set to decrease. However, some countries are planning new, large coal stations and are increasing operation prior to closure of some existing stations. The continued use of fossil fuels, especially coal, is resulting in emission levels that in the short term will exceed the internationally agreed climate protection objectives. Therefore, Europe and Asia need to accelerate their co-operation in developing carbon capture and storage and other new technologies and policies in order to minimise the emissions to the greatest extent possible.