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Which Countries Are Most Reliant on Coal?

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Which Countries Are Most Reliant on Coal?

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Global energy policies and discussions in recent years have been focused on the importance of decarbonizing the energy system in the transition to net zero.

However, despite efforts to reduce carbon emissions, fossil fuels still account for more than 80% of primary energy use globally—and coal, the world’s most affordable energy fuel, is also the largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions.

The graphic above uses data from the Statistical Review of World Energy to show how much select countries rely on fossil fuels, particularly coal.

Coal’s Importance in Emerging Economies

Coal is the largest source of electricity generation and the primary fuel for iron, steel, and cement production, making it central to climate and energy discussions.

The fossil fuel continues to be an affordable and abundant source of energy, particularly in emerging economies where demand is expanding rapidly.

South Africa is the world’s most coal-dependent nation featured in the statistical review, with coal accounting for 69% of its primary energy consumption in 2022.

Primary energy use, by fuel type (2022)
CountryCoal %Oil %Gas %Other %
🇿🇦 South Africa69%22%3%6%
🇨🇳 China55%18%8%18%
🇮🇳 India55%27%6%11%
🇮🇩 Indonesia45%31%14%10%
🇻🇳 Vietnam45%22%6%27%
🇵🇱 Poland 42%34%15%9%
🇵🇭 Philippines40%42%5%13%
🇯🇵 Japan27%37%20%15%
🇦🇺 Australia26%35%25%14%
🇹🇷 Türkiye25%30%26%19%
🇰🇷 South Korea23%43%17%17%
🇺🇦 Ukraine22%17%30%31%
🇲🇾 Malaysia19%36%37%8%
🇩🇪 Germany19%35%23%23%
🇹🇭 Thailand14%47%32%7%
🇷🇺 Russia 11%24%51%14%
🇺🇸 U.S.10%38%33%19%
🇮🇹 Italy5%40%38%16%
🇬🇧 United Kingdom3%36%35%25%
🇫🇷 France2%35%16%46%

Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding. Select countries shown above.

In 2022, global consumption of coal surpassed 8 billion tonnes in a single year for the first time, with China and India being the two biggest consumers in absolute terms.

China’s power sector alone accounts for one-third of global coal consumption. Meanwhile, with a growth rate of 6% annually, India has doubled its coal consumption since 2007—and is expected to lead the growth in coal consumption for years to come.

Coal Demand in Developed Countries

U.S. consumption of coal has dropped almost 50% compared to the early 2010s.

With initiatives like the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes nearly $370 billion to accelerate the U.S.’s energy transition, coal consumption is expected to remain on a downward trajectory in the United States.

Source: BP Energy Outlook 2023. The forecast is based on BP’s scenario for global net-zero emissions by 2050.

The same movement is seen in the European Union.

France, for example, only has 2.5% of its primary energy consumption coming from coal, a share that is just half of what it was in the early 2000s.

In Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, coal still accounts for 18.9% of total energy consumption (a small increase over 2021, due to the energy crisis). However, a decade ago in 2012, that number stood even higher at 24.9% of primary energy use.

With coal consumption falling in developed nations but remaining steady in emerging economies, the International Energy Agency projects that coal demand will plateau at 2022 levels until 2025 when it will begin to fall.

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40 Years of U.S. Wildfires, in One Chart

Wildfires are blazing across the U.S with unprecedented intensity. Here is how activity has evolved over four decades.

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The following content is sponsored by Carbon Streaming

Note: This infographic contains forward looking information based on current expectations and beliefs of Carbon Streaming Corporation. For further information about the risks, uncertainties and assumptions related to such forward looking information, please see their legal notice.

40 Years of U.S. Wildfires, in One Chart

Wildfires are becoming more intense and widespread—largely due to rising temperatures caused by climate change

What’s more, experts predict a whopping 50% surge in wildfires by 2100.

We partnered with Carbon Streaming to illustrate four decades (1983–2023) of wildfire activity in the U.S. Let’s dive in.

The Evolution of Wildfires Over Time

The data we used comes from the National Interagency Fire Center and highlights the number of wildfires that occurred between 1983 and 2023, along with the average acres burned over the same time period. The 5-year rolling average was calculated based on the current year plus the preceding four years.

As the table below shows, the total area burned across the U.S. in 2023 was significantly below average, and the number of wildfires was slightly below average due in part to cooler weather conditions.

YearNumber of WildfiresAcres Burned 5-Year Rolling Average
202356,5802,693,9106,436,687
202268,9887,577,1837,651,404
202158,9857,125,6438,141,184
202058,95010,122,3367,818,055
201950,4774,664,3647,818,617
201858,0838,767,4927,604,867
201771,49910,026,0866,715,278
201667,7435,509,9956,575,308
201568,15110,125,1497,215,583
201463,3123,595,6135,875,098
201347,5794,319,5466,340,332
201267,7749,326,2386,534,917
201174,1268,711,3676,535,278
201071,9713,422,7246,767,754
200978,7925,921,7867,821,087
200878,9795,292,4688,256,305
200785,7059,328,0457,989,980
200696,3859,873,7457,561,314
200566,7538,689,3896,300,747
200465,4618,097,880*6,041,568
200363,6293,960,8425,547,210
200273,4577,184,7125,020,983
200184,0793,570,9114,155,432
200092,2507,393,4934,654,449
199992,4875,626,0933,543,860
199881,0431,329,7043,233,357
199766,1962,856,9593,326,931
199696,3636,065,9983,169,525
199582,2341,840,5462,547,041
199479,1074,073,5793,103,256
199358,8101,797,5742,654,002
199287,3942,069,9293,296,346
199175,7542,953,5783,371,819
199066,4814,621,6213,324,936
198948,9491,827,3102,979,841
198872,7505,009,2902,844,061
198771,3002,447,2962,106,936
198685,9072,719,162N/A
198582,5912,896,147N/A
198420,4931,148,409N/A
198318,2291,323,666N/A

*2004 fires and acres do not include state lands for North Carolina

What’s the impact of the increasing burned areas and severity of wildfires over time? 

Simply put, when wildfires burn, they release smoke and gas into the air which makes the Earth warmer, making it easier for more wildfires to start and spread. This cycle is often referred to as the fires and climate feedback loop, and is the reason why experts believe that wildfires will only continue to worsen.

Wildfire Havoc in the West

2023 marked a year of severe wildfire destruction on the West Coast and in Hawaii. The Maui wildfires in August, for example, led to the destruction of 2,308 structures and at time of writing, 5,000 residents are still displaced six months later. Additionally, the cost of rebuilding Maui could exceed $5 billion and take several years.

Post-wildfire restoration is a critical piece of climate change mitigation, particularly in the states that need it the most. 

What Can Be Done?

In partnership with Mast Reforestation, Carbon Streaming is advancing its pipeline of post-wildfire reforestation projects in Western U.S. states. 

To date, Carbon Streaming has entered into carbon credit streams to provide funding for three reforestation projects—Sheep Creek in Montana and Feather River and Baccala Ranch in California.

Mast Reforestation’s unique approach combines proven reforestation practices with new technology to regrow resilient, climate-adapted forests. Want to know more?

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