Global coal consumption dropped the most on record last year as the U.S. and other major economies started turning away from the most polluting fossil fuel, according to BP Plc’s annual review of energy trends.
As the world begins to tackle the goals of last year’s Paris climate agreement, news of coal’s retreat was tempered by the fact that oil increased its share of energy consumption as low prices spurred demand in both industrialized and developing countries.
“Oil grew exceptionally strong because when price falls, demand increases,” Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist, said in London as the company presented its Statistical Review. “The big casualty last year was coal. We are seeing a shift in the fuel mix away from coal, driven a lot by environment issues.”
Coal use fell 1.8 percent in 2015, the largest decline in data going back to the mid-1960s, BP said. The fuel accounted for 29.2 percent of consumption, the lowest since 2005, while oil’s share rose for the first time since 1999.
For an explanation of coal’s position in the global energy mix, click here.
A slump in crude prices over the past two years has made gasoline and diesel more affordable, spurring consumers to drive more. Oil increased its market share to about a third last year as demand rose at almost double the pace of 2014, BP said.
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