World Becomes More Dependent on Coal


"Global coal consumption grew a whopping 7.60% in 2010."

Business Insider, Gregor MacDonald

The latest BP Statistical Review was published in London this morning, and following a theme presented for years at, global growth in coal consumption continues to soar. Now that global oil production is flat, and is no longer able to fund new industrial expansion, coal remains the cheap BTU and, of course, the preferred energy source of the developing world (non-OECD). For another year, the world has turned to coal. See the following chart—world consumption of coal in million tons oil equivalent 2001–2010.

Coal consumption

In presentations late last year, I had been forecasting a 6.90% rate of coal consumption growth globally for 2010. During that time, I knew that non-OECD coal consumption was very strong—and likely well above 8.00%. I also knew that OECD coal use was a tad stronger than one might anticipate. What I did not foresee was that the 2010 rebound in OECD coal use was much stronger, at a 5.2% rate. Thus, combined with non-OECD's huge 8.7% advance, total global coal consumption growth in 2010 comes in at a whopping 7.60%.

Among all fossil fuels, did coal consumption grow the fastest in 2010? Yes, it did.

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