There is reason to be optimistic about climate protection. According to BP, global energy consumption rose less sharply in 2019 than in 2018. The share of renewable energies has increased more than ever before. According to the British oil company, they accounted for more than 40 percent of the additional energy consumed. At the same time, the share of coal in the global energy mix has fallen to its lowest level in 16 years. Nevertheless, the climate killer coal remains the most important source of energy worldwide.
Coal and climate protection
A little over a third of the energy generated in 2019 was coal (36 percent), as stated in the 69th edition of the BP report “Statistical Review of World Energy”. Wind, solar and geothermal energy, on the other hand, only accounted for a tenth. Low prices could also have boosted coal consumption. For the member countries of the OECD, however, BP recorded the lowest demand since the analysis began in 1965.
Many countries are still dependent on fossil fuels for the time being. These countries consume the most coal in the world:
# 10 Vietnam
Coal is not on the decline everywhere. Vietnam ranked 15th in total consumption worldwide in 2018, however, in 2019 BP recorded an increase of 30 percent to 2.1 exajoules. Vietnam shot up to tenth place. It left Australia, Poland and Turkey behind, among others. To put it into perspective: 2.1 exajoules roughly correspond to ten times the annual consumption of Berlin (in 2014).
@imago images / Manngold
# 9 Germany
Germany wants to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2038 at the latest. According to BP, Germany ranked ninth among the largest coal consumers in the world in 2019 (2018: eighth). In this country, however, only 2.3 exajoules of coal electricity were consumed. That was 21 percent less than last year. Germany’s total primary energy consumption in 2019 was just under 13 exajoules. The decision to phase out coal also made itself felt in production. In addition to the USA, there was the greatest decrease here in Germany (0.3 exajoules).
@imago images / Xinhua
# 8 Indonesia
In contrast, coal is booming in Indonesia. Consumption rose by 20.0 percent to 2.3 exajoules. Indonesia climbed from ninth to eighth place.
@imago images / Frank Sorge
# 7 Republic of Korea
The Republic of Korea has significantly reduced its coal consumption. According to BP, it fell by 5.3 percent to 3.4 exajoules. It stayed at seventh place. The other countries in the top 7 also retained their ranking.
@imago images / Russian Look
# 6 Russia
Russia consumed exactly as much coal in 2019 as in the previous year: 3.6 exajoules.
@imago images / Gallo Images
# 5 South Africa
There is no sign of ambitious climate protection in South Africa, at least when it comes to coal consumption. The country consumed 3.8 exajoules, according to the BP. That was one percent more than in 2018.
# 4 Japan
Japan remained the fourth largest coal nation in the world in terms of consumption. The balance fell slightly by two percent to 4.9 exajoules.
@imago images / imagebroker
# 3 USA
When it comes to coal consumption, the gaps between the nations are very large. This explains why the order has stayed the same despite significant changes in the amounts of energy. The USA, for example, reduced its coal consumption by almost 15 percent to 11.3 exajoules in 2019. But that was still more than twice as much as in fourth place in Japan. The USA therefore remained in third place.
# 2 India
India consumed around 18.6 exajoules of energy from coal in 2019. That corresponded to the value of the previous year. India remained the country with the second largest coal consumption in the world. However, only twelve percent of the global balance came from the subcontinent. Because the front runner puts all other countries in the shade when it comes to coal.
@imago images / Imaginechina-Tuchong
# 1 China
China accounted for almost 80 percent of the coal burned worldwide, according to BP in 2019. The consumption amounted to 81.7 exajoules (plus 2.3 percent).