Old King Coal at COP28: Uninvited Guest or Star of the Show?

by Tilak DoshiPeter A. Coclanis at wattsupwiththat.com

Last Friday, just two days after the Dubai COP28 meeting ended, a report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that global coal demand will set another new record this year. Although coal use in the West is falling, demand in developing economies “remains very strong, increasing by 8% in India and by 5% in China in 2023 due to rising demand for electricity and weak hydropower output.” 

Perhaps the best preamble to COP28 was delivered by India’s Power Minister, R. K. Singh. On November 6th, he stated “There is going to be pressure on nations at COP-28 to reduce coal usage. We are not going to do this… we are not going to compromise on availability of power for our growth, even if it requires that we add coal-based capacity”. India plans an additional 30 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fueled power generating capacity in addition to the existing 50 GW and plants already under construction. It is also set to increase coal production by 60% by 2030, from its current level of 1 billion tons, to ensure ample supply for its thermal power plants.

This insistence on affordable coal-based power for economic growth is not unique to India. Other large developing countries such as China, Indonesia, South Africa and Vietnam all have similar plans to ramp up coal power plant construction despite policy “promises” to curtail fossil fuels made at UN climate forums since the “Paris Agreement” of 2015. Despite the “net zero by 2050” mantra ceaselessly trumpeted in the Western legacy media, the insistence by the developed countries that poorer countries reduce their “carbon footprint” to “save the planet” is bound to be disappointed.