An energy-starved world is turning to coal as natural-gas and oil shortages exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine lead countries back to the dirtiest fossil fuel. From the U.S. to Europe to China, the world’s largest economies are increasing coal purchases to ensure sufficient supplies of electricity, despite prior pledges by many countries to reduce their coal consumption to combat climate change.
“The global competition for coal—also now in short supply after years of declining investment in new mines and resources—has driven benchmark prices to new records this year,” reports The Wall Street Journal (July 5, 2022). The push is being led by Europe, which is boosting coal purchases to ensure it can keep power flowing to homes and factories after Russia cut gas supplies. Germany, which has promised to eliminate coal as a power source by 2030, is among the nations now importing more.