Very few commodities can point to such a long and successful career as coal. It was on hand at the start of the Industrial Revolution. And the mass production of the twentieth century would not have been possible without it. Even in the context of the rise of renewables in the twenty-first century, there were expectations of a coal ‘Renaissance’. Global coal consumption has in fact been increasing steadily – to 7 823 million tons in 2013.
A sudden demise?
But suddenly there’s talk of the demise or even the end of coal.