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Is coal production declining? No, far from it. Since the start of the 21st century, coal production has been the fastest-growing global energy source. While provisional IEA figures show a slight decrease in 2014 driven by a decline in China and some exceptional circumstances such as unrest in Ukraine, the IEA sees global supply increasing at an average rate of 0.6% through 2020.
All around the world, greater policy support for renewable energy and energy efficiency – the foundation of the COP21 climate agreement in Paris – is expected to dent coal demand. But the positive IEA outlook for coal demand through 2020 is based in part on growth in India and Southeast Asia that will more than offset structural declines in Europe and the United States.