With coal prices so low, climate protection must obviously take a back seat. According to BP, Luxembourg generated a third more electricity from coal in 2019 than in the previous year. The oil company also recorded double-digit growth in its annual energy report for New Zealand (14 percent) and the alleged solar power champion Morocco (29 percent). Furthermore, coal remains the most important energy source worldwide. But many countries are preparing for the climate-friendly jump.
Coal on the decline
In the BP analysis, 26 of the 79 countries examined consumed more coal than in 2018. However, the countries in which coal is on the decline were clearly in the majority. 43 countries were able to reduce their demand in 2019 (consumption remained the same in ten countries or no data was available). In 23 countries the minus was even in the double-digit percentage range. But how much does that actually benefit the climate?
Let’s take a closer look: These countries saw the sharpest decline in coal in 2019.
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# 10 France
France cut its coal consumption by almost a quarter in 2019, according to BP. It fell by 23 percent to 0.27 exajoules. This means that France was only 28th in the ranking of 79 countries for coal-fired power generation.
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# 9 Greece
Greece managed a minus of 28 percent. The amount of energy consumed from coal was 0.14 exajoules, according to BP. That meant 40th place in the global ranking.
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# 8 Estonia
Estonia cut coal demand by 29 percent to 0.14 exajoules (39th worldwide).
@imago images / Hans Blossey
# 7 Ireland
Coal is on the decline in Ireland too. According to the BP report, consumption decreased by 32 percent to 0.04 exajoules (55th place) in 2019.
@imago images / ZUMA Press
# 6 Peru
Peru needed exactly a third less energy from coal. Total consumption fell to 0.02 exajoules (61st place).
@imago images / Agencia EFE
# 5 Venezuela
In the energy mix of Venezuela, coal finally trades under also ran. In 2019, consumption fell by 35 percent to less than 0.01 exajoules. Venezuela was one of the 13 countries that obtained less than 0.01 exajoules of energy from coal or consumed no coal at all.
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# 4 Denmark
In Denmark, too, coal hardly plays a role in energy consumption. According to BP, the requirement decreased by 42 percent to 0.04 exajoules (57th place).
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# 3 Portugal
Portugal cut its coal consumption in half in 2019. It fell 49 percent to 0.06 exajoules. This means that Portugal was only 51st in the ranking of the largest coal consumers.
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# 2 Argentina
Argentina achieved a decrease of 54 percent compared to the previous year. 0.02 exajoules meant 60th place worldwide.
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# 1 Spain
According to BP, no other country saved as much coal as Spain in 2019. Consumption fell by 55 percent to 0.21 exajoules (33rd place). The ranking shows that the largest declines are in countries that already generate little coal electricity. None of the big savers on this list is among the top 20 coal consumers in the world. The collapse of the energy source in Germany is all the more remarkable.
@imago images / Gottfried Czepluch
# 12 Germany
In 2019, the Federal Republic of Germany had the ninth-highest coal consumption worldwide with 2.3 exajoules. According to BP, that was 21 percent less than the year before. Among the coal dropouts, it was enough for Germany behind the Netherlands for twelfth place. Germany was among the ten largest coal nations in terms of decline, well ahead of the USA (minus 15 percent). In China, Japan and Korea, consumption fell single-digit. The five other top nations, on the other hand, consumed more coal compared to 2018. But it is also true that a new power plant unit was put into operation in Datteln this year.