Coal to surpass oil in fuel use by 2022 following increased demand from India, China
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said that coal will catch up with oil as the world's leading energy source by 2022.
In a report, the agency said that increased demand from India and China was fuelling the push.
It comes as the European Union acknowledged that it has been unable to fund a single project to capture and store CO2, the BBC reports.
The IEA said that economic and population growth in developing countries is spurring the drive for coal.
According to the report, by 2017 the agency said that global coal consumption will stand at 4.32 billion tonnes of oil equivalent, versus 4.4 billion tonnes for oil itself.
"Coal's share of the global energy mix continues to grow each year," IEA executive director Maria Van der Hoeven said.
"If no changes are made to current policies, coal will catch oil within a decade," he added.
The report predicted that by 2014 China will account for more than half the world's coal consumption, while India will overtake the US and come in the second place.
In fact, the US is the only region of the world forecast to reduce demand for coal the report said, highlighting the role being played by shale gas in the energy mix, the report said.
"The US experience suggests that a more efficient gas market, marked by flexible pricing and fuelled by indigenous unconventional resources that are produced sustainably can reduce coal use, CO2 emissions and consumers' electricity bills without harming energy security" Van der Hoeven said.