Coal markets had a tough 2020. Demand collapsed as the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe, gutting energy use and shutting down industrial activity. The pandemic came at a time when coal already faced a perfect storm of fast-expanding renewables growth, cheap natural gas prices and an increasing awareness among governments and investors of the need to reduce carbon emissions. What the future holds for coal is further clouded by the fact that many financial institutions and corporates have divested from the coal energy sector, while others have committed to reducing their investment in the sector and large coal miners are retreating from thermal coal mining. Further, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on wealthy nations to end coal use by 2030, so that the world can meet its goal of reducing global warming and end the “deadly addiction to coal”. Creamer Media’s 'Coal 2021: What is the future of coal?' report reviews developments in South Africa’s coal sector and its prospects in the energy transition era, focusing on the business environment at home and abroad; it’s main participants and some of the smaller producers in the sector; as well as environmental considerations that have come to the fore.
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