Global coal consumption declines consistently over the next 30 years in all three scenarios, never recovering back to its peak level of 2013.
The scale of the decline is particularly pronounced in Rapid and Net Zero, in which coal is almost entirely eliminated from the global energy system over the next 30 years, falling between 85-90%, with the share of coal in primary energy dropping to less than 5% by 2050 in both scenarios.
The fall in coal demand in Rapid and Net Zero is dominated by China as it shifts to a more sustainable pattern of growth and a lower carbon fuel mix. Declines in Chinese coal consumption account for around half of the overall fall in global demand in these two scenarios, supported by declines in OECD, India and Other Asia.
The contraction in coal consumption is less pronounced in BAU, falling by around 25% by 2050, with the speed of that decline accelerating through the Outlook. China accounts for the vast majority of the fall, followed by the US and the EU. The overall fall in global coal consumption is partially mitigated by continuing increases in India and Other Asia. By 2050, developing Asia (China, India and Other Asia) accounts for over 80% of total coal consumption in BAU.
The falls in coal consumption are concentrated in the power and industrial sectors. In Rapid and Net Zero, the power sector accounts for around two-thirds of the decline as power generation is largely decarbonized; whereas in BAU, the falls are distributed roughly evenly between the two sectors. By 2050, the power sector accounts for around two-thirds of the remaining use of coal in BAU (see Power for a discussion of the prospects for coal-fired power generation in India).
In both Rapid and Net Zero, most of the coal consumption remaining in 2050 is used in conjunction with CCUS, concentrated in the power sector and the production of blue hydrogen.
The falls in global coal demand are matched on the supply side by significant falls in Chinese coal production, which accounts for the vast majority of the production declines in both Rapid and BAU.