Decline in coal production in India in 2019.
After two years of growth, global coal production remained stable in 2019, as slowing electricity consumption reduced coal demand.
In China, the largest coal producer (47% of the global output), production grew by 4% for the third year in a row, in line with the continuing supply-side structural reform. Coal production also increased slightly in Australia and accelerated in South Africa despite declining world prices.
In other large coal producing countries, production followed a downward trend: it contracted by 3.3% in India, where a prolonged monsoon season derailed the government’s target to boost domestic output and to cut its reliance on coal imports, in the USA (-6.7%, due to a falling demand from the power sector coupled with declining prices that contributed to a wave of bankruptcies), in Indonesia, and in Colombia. Coal production growth slowed down in Russia (+1% only) and remained stable in Turkey. In the EU, climate policies, the end of subsidies for coal production in 2018, high carbon prices and the increased competition from renewables and gas in the power sector contributed to a 15% fall in coal production, especially in Germany and Poland.
Switzerland’s electricity consumption declined by 2.6% in 2020 to 55.7 TWh, according to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. This decline was due to the COVID-19 related lockdowns (-4.3% in electricity consumption in the first quarter and -7.8% in the second quarter of 2020), and to economic trends (2.9% drop in the GDP), weather conditions (the number of heating degree days fell by 4.4% compared to 2019) and energy efficiency improvements to a lesser extent.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from operators covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) fell by 13.3% in 2020, due to an 11.2% decrease in emissions from stationary installations (power plants and manufacturing plants) to 1.331 MtCO2eq and a 64.1% decrease in emissions from aviation, a sector which was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, to 24.5 MtCO2eq.
The power sector posted a 14.9% decrease, as a result of reduced electricity consumption due to the pandemic and continued decarbonisation trends, including both the switch from coal to gas-fired power generation, and the replacement of fossil fuels by renewables. In addition, emissions from industry decreased by an average of 7%, with reductions observed in most sectors, including iron and steel (-11.7%), cement (-5.1%), chemicals (-4%) and refineries (-8.1%).
According to preliminary data from the Ministry of the Ecological Transition, France’s primary energy consumption decreased by 9.9% in 2020 to 2,571 TWh. Final energy consumption declined by 7.9% to 1,637 TWh in 2020, including 147 TWh for non-energy uses (final consumption for energy use at constant climate declined by 5.6% in 2020). The lockdown measures and travel restrictions had a significant impact on energy consumption in the transport and industrial sectors: energy consumption fell by nearly 16% in transport and by 6.5% in industry. The energy consumption of residential and tertiary building adjusted for climate variations increased slightly (+1.5% with climate corrections).
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fell by 1.7% in 2019 to 5,769 MtCO2eq (including LULUCF), i.e. 13% below their 2005 level. The decrease in total energy consumption in 2019 (compared to 2018) and to a continued shift from coal to gas and renewables in the power sector reduced emissions from fossil fuel combustion.