Virtual Seminar via Zoom
Welcome Remarks: Mike McFaul, Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Ken Olivier and Angela Nomellini Professor of International Studies, Department of Political Science; Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution; Director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Moderator: Frank Wolak, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Holbrook Working Professor of Commodity Price Studies in the Department of Economics; Director, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development
Speaker: Mark Thurber, Research Scholar and Associate Director, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development; Lecturer in Management, Stanford Graduate School of Business
As of 2018, coal supplied 27% of primary energy and 38% of electricity worldwide. Coal provides millions of jobs and helps fuel economic growth in emerging economies, especially in Asia. It is also responsible for around a million deaths per year from air pollution, and it is a major contributor to global climate change. As economies around the world have screeched to a halt because of COVID-19, coal has taken a hit—and air quality has improved accordingly. Global coal demand dropped 8% in the first quarter of 2020 relative to the same period last year, mainly due to the pandemic’s impact on China, which is far and away the world’s largest consumer of coal. Because of the curtailment of transportation around the world, oil markets are now seeing even more dramatic impacts than coal markets. Dr. Thurber draws on findings of his new book Coal (2019)—and previous edited volumes The Global Coal Market (2015) and Oil and Governance (2012)—to assess whether the reduction in the role of coal and other fossil fuels is likely to be permanent, or whether they will emerge stronger than ever when the pandemic is over.