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Green
The Big Take

Russia’s War Is Turbocharging the World’s Addiction to Coal

The first phase of the global energy crunch was driven by the natural gas shortage, now comes the coal crisis.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine set off a chain reaction in the global energy markets that further thrusts coal into the spotlight. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine set off a chain reaction in the global energy markets that further thrusts coal into the spotlight. 

Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg

In Germany and Italy, coal-fired power plants that were once decommissioned are now being considered for a second life. In South Africa, more coal-laden ships are embarking on what’s typically a quiet route around the Cape of Good Hope toward Europe. Coal burning in the U.S. is in the midst of its biggest revival in a decade, while China is reopening shuttered mines and planning new ones.

The world’s addiction to coal, a fuel many thought would soon be on the way out, is now stronger than ever.