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Energy • In a Recovering Economy, Asia Fans the Flames of the Fossil Fire

Although progressively phased out in Europe and the United States by gas or renewable energy, coal-fired power plants have retained strong public support in Asia. In the future, fossil fuels will continue to be consumed.

Publication date

2021

Editor

Climate Chance Observatory

In a Recovering Economy, Asia Fans the Flames of the Fossil Fire

The first months of the pandemic were marked by an unprecedented drop in energy demand and related emissions all over the world, with economic activity slowing down and lockdown measures imposed in several countries.

  • Over the course of that period, coal, gas and oil experienced the greatest drops in demand, while renewable energies emerged as the star performers.
  • As the world adapts to the pandemic and economies recover, the observed trend is not only one of continual expansion in terms of renewable energy, but also a resurgence in terms of coal and fossil fuel use.
  • This resurgence, which is largely concentrated in Asia, is in juxtaposition with the current climate where increasing commitments are being made in favour of reducing emissions and implementing an energy transition strategy, as the unprofitability of coal increases.
  • Gas continues to experience a strong growth in demand, driven by Liquefied Natural Gas. At the same time, there is also increasing activism against its use, while renewable substitutes become increasingly accessible.

Despite a slowdown during the pandemic and competition from gas and renewables, coal remains a key part of Asia’s energy mix.