Coal use is Rising, IEA issues warning

WSJ reports on the IEA's observation that coal use is rising.

Rising Use of Coal Prompts Warning

PARIS—The world is headed for a "dire future" where high energy prices drag on economic growth and global temperatures rise dangerously, unless significant innovations are made to lower the cost of clean energy and carbon-capture technology, the International Energy Agency said.

Senior officials from the agency painted the gloomy picture of the world's current trajectory at a two-day meeting with international energy ministers and business leaders in Paris.

Participants concluded that growth in energy demand will be met largely by coal—and that the only hope of keeping global temperatures at safe levels would be in the creation of cheaper technologies to capture carbon dioxide.

"Unless much stronger action is taken," the IEA said in a statement Wednesday, "energy related CO2 emissions would rise to a level consistent with a long-term global temperature increase of more than 3.5 [degrees] Celsius, with dangerous consequences for the global environment and human welfare." Such an increase would be equivalent to 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit.


Current clean-energy technologies can't meet carbon-reduction targets, so in the nearer term improving energy efficiency is the most important action to take, the IEA said in the statement.

In addition, growing dependence on fossil fuels will damage economies, the IEA said. "Persistently high levels of spending on energy imports would impose a drag on economic growth in many countries," the agency warned. "The risk of serious energy-supply disruptions would continue to mount."