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Global coal use will fall if the world economy decarbonises, as would be necessary to achieve climate change goals. Other factors may also reduce coal demand, among them reductions in the costs of renewable energy technologies and increasing focus on air pollution by some governments. The speed, extent and nature of changes in coal use, production and trade are uncertain. But it is clear the the global energy transition poses economic and social challenges to coal producers.
In this symposium, we present early results from research under the international Coal Transitions project and research getting underway as part of the Energy Transition Research Hub. Presentations include scenarios for global coal use and Australian coal production and trade; research on South Africa’s coal industry; supply-side policy options such as taxes on coal production; lessons from the closure of the Hazelwood power station for a ‘just transition’; lessons from industrial transformation and regional renewal in Europe’s old industrial regions; and tracing employment effects of coal power plant closure.