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环保气势汹汹 未来煤炭卖给谁

Coal is the most abundant and obvious energy source in the world, but opponents to its use are more vocal than ever.

It is not just concern at coal’s role in creating carbon emissions — and hence climate change — that is a problem for demand. Economics also play a part, with coal’s competitiveness against other types of fuel having fallen.
环保气势汹汹 未来煤炭

In the US, for example, the emergence of shale gas has meant some coal output has been priced out of the market. Peabody Energy, the US’s largest coal miner, says falls in the price of natural gas will cut US coal demand by 60m-80m tons this year. US coal demand last year was close to 920m short tons, says the US Energy Information Administration.

以美国为例,页岩气的出现造成部分煤炭产量因价格过高被挤出市场。美国最大的矿业公司博地能源(Peabody Energy)表示,由于天然气价格下跌,今年美国煤炭需求将减少6000万到8000万吨。美国能源情报署(US Energy Information Administration)表示,美国去年煤炭需求接近9.2亿短吨。
Coal still provides about 30 per cent of global primary energy needs and generates more than 40 per cent of the world’s electricity, according to the World Coal Association, the coal miners’ industry body. In the world’s most populous countries, China and India, the percentage of energy needs met by coal is even higher at about 70 per cent.
根据行业机构世界煤炭协会(World Coal Association)的数据,煤炭提供了全球约30%的一次能源和40%以上的电力。在人口第一和第二大国中国和印度,煤炭所满足的能源需求比例甚至达到70%左右。
The International Energy Agency estimates coal demand will grow by only 0.5 per cent a year up to 2040, compared with 2.5 per cent annually over the past three decades. In the US, coal use will fall by one-third during that period, and even in China — whose voracious demand for coal kept the market buoyant for much of the past decade — a peak could come by 2030, the IEA says.
Indeed, coal consumption in China fell in 2014, with imports down 11 per cent, the first fall in a decade. Economic growth has slowed, while China is also making strenuous efforts to cut coal use to reduce pollution. Coal-fired electricity plants are running at little over half their installed capacity and, combined with abundant supply, this has pushed down global coal prices. Benchmark export thermal coal prices have fallen about 60 per cent from a 2011 peak.
If China is committed to reducing coal use, it will mirror the efforts being made in developed markets. In the US, new rules known as Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or MATS, are expected to lead to the withdrawal from service of about 60GW of coal-fired generating capacity by 2018. That is about one-fifth of the installed capacity. Even tougher US rules are in the pipeline in the shape of a “Clean Power Plan” by the Environmental Protection Agency. Aimed at cutting carbon emissions from power generation, they could cut US coal demand by a quarter by 2020, but coal companies are fighting hard against the measures, with Peabody saying they are a “major over-reach” by the EPA.
如果中国致力于减少煤炭使用,它将借鉴发达市场所作出的努力。美国出台了新的“汞及大气有毒物排放标准”(Mercury and Air Toxics Standards,简称MATS),若得到贯彻落实,预计至2018年美国的燃煤发电能力将减少大约60万千瓦,相当于总装机容量的五分之一左右。美国还在酝酿更强硬的规定,这就是美国国家环境保护局(Environmental Protection Agency)的“清洁能源计划”(Clean Power Plan)。该计划旨在减少发电所造成的碳排放,到2020年,美国煤炭需求可能因此减少四分之一,但煤炭公司正竭力反对该举措,博地能源表示环保局出这些规定“大大越权”。
Where does this leave coal miners? Growth in developing countries is still the great hope. Glencore, one of the largest coal miners, points out that Asia’s annual demand for coal is still expected to rise by more than 1bn tonnes by 2025 — more than current total global demand for maritime traded thermal coal — with half the expected increase coming from outside China.
Much depends on the pace of transition to a lower-carbon economy. If all the policy changes that have been announced to cut carbon emissions do not take place, demand for coal is expected to be stronger still.
India: Ambitious targets may boost demand
With years of strong growth in China’s coal use seemingly slowing, India is emergingas the coal industry’s great hope to take up the slack.
India has the world’s second-largest population and its economy still relies heavily on coal, which meets well over half of energy demand. The election of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, seen as a reformer wanting to step up economic growth, is seen as positive for coal use. “The Indian growth story is starting to gain traction,” Mike Henry, a senior BHP Billiton executive, told investors last year.
印度是全球第二人口大国,其经济仍严重依赖煤炭,能源需求有一半以上要靠煤炭满足。纳伦德拉•莫迪(Narendra Modi)当选印度总理被认为将推动煤炭使用,在人们眼里,莫迪是改革派,希望加快印度经济增长。必和必拓(BHP Billiton)高管迈克•亨利(Mike Henry)去年对投资者表示:“印度的增长故事正开始吸引注意。”
The International Energy Agency (IEA), expects India to become the second-largest coal consumer by 2020, overtaking the US. It also expects that India will overtake China to become the largest importer of thermal coal, used for generating power. How beneficial this is for global coal exporters is likely to depend on how quickly India can improve its domestic coal mining industry.
Coal India, the state-owned miner, is being asked to double output over the next five years — an ambitious target. India may therefore become a much more important global market.
国有企业印度煤炭公司(Coal India)被要求在未来5年将产出翻番,这是一个宏伟的目标。印度可能因此成为一个更加重要的国际煤炭市场。
The IEA puts India’s rise in coal demand in the next five years at 250 megatons. That is more than is currently consumed by any country other than China, the US and India itself. Yet, as the agency says: “There is no other China out there”.