Although the growth rate of coal slows from the breakneck pace of the last decade, global coal consumption by 2017 stands at 4.32 billion metric tons of oil equivalent (btoe), versus around 4.40 btoe for oil, based on the IEA’s medium-term projections. The IEA expects coal demand will increase in every region of the world except in the United States, where coal is being pushed out by natural gas.

“Thanks to abundant supplies and insatiable demand for power from emerging markets, coal met nearly half of the rise in global energy demand during the first decade of the 21st century,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “This report sees that trend continuing. In fact, the world will burn around 1.2 billion more tons of coal per year by 2017.”

China and India lead the growth in coal consumption over the next five years. The report says China will surpass the rest of the world in coal demand during the outlook period, while India will become the largest seaborne coal importer and second-largest consumer, surpassing the United States.