22 Aug 2017

Global coal production continues decline

7:29 am on 22 August 2017

Global coal production fell last year by a bigger margin than in any year since records began in 1971, according to new OECD figures.

The decline was twice as high as the fall of 2015, which followed an earlier fall in 2014.

Coal fired power plant

Coal production has fallen globally. Photo: Creative Commons

The development is expected to be applauded by environmentalists, because coal is CO2-intensive compared with natural gas.

Coal production in New Zealand rose by about 50 percent between 2000 and 2010 but then slipped back to the lowest level this century.

Production of coal for heat, coal for steel-making and lignite, or brown coal, all declined, according to the OECD.

China and India were the two largest producers and importers, while Australia and Indonesia were the two largest exporters.

Coal production in the United States continued an eight year decline.

Electricity generation from coal-fired power plants in OECD countries fell by 6.1 percent, even though overall electricity generation increased.

Looking back to the start of the century, coal production in China increased by 139.3 percent, despite a falling trend that began in 2013.

In comparison, OECD production declined by 14.7 percent for the same period.

Global coal prices are slipping again after rising from a trough at the start of 2016.

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