Demise of coal far to come
Consumption of coal will increase by over a third by 2040
In its 2013 International Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) paints a picture of coal which is not very pretty. Consumption of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel in terms of carbon emission, will increase by over a third by 2040, and virtually all this increase will come from China, India and other developing countries.
Europe, the Middle East, Central and South America, and Africa - all see jumps of varying degrees as well. At around 20 quadrillion Btu of consumption in 2040, America will remain the third biggest user of coal in the world.
The global coal juggernaut is so large now that even a low rate of growth represents an enormous amount of new greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise from 31.2bn metric tonnes per year in 2010 to 45.5bn metric tonnes in 2040 - which would likely leave the world facing 4°C of warming by the end of the century. But on an optimistic note, renewable energy and nuclear power will be the fastest growing energy sectors, with each achieving a growth of 2.5 per cent per year through 2040.
Nuclear power will predominantly become the ‘energy of choice’ in several developing - as well as established - economies due to its economic viability in the long-term.
However, nuclear power is set to face several challenges, especially in the areas of public acceptance, cost-competitiveness, operational safety, and waste management.
These issues are of great relevance, for the nations already operating nuclear facilities or aiming to further expand their capacity, as well as for those countries planning to introduce nuclear power for the first time.