While low industrial activity is reflected in declining coal consumption trends, the share of cheap coal in the overall power mix of multiple EU countries has risen (Germany, UK etc.). This is mainly attributed to the collapse of carbon prices in the EU ETS (linked to the increased allocation of emissions permits)
and high natural gas prices since 2010, which have increased profit margins from coal use, providing, at the same time, no incentive for switching to low carbon technologies. Other country-specific reasons can also be identified, such as Spain’s domestic coal use subsidies (which has resulted in the doubling of power generation based on coal).
However, the increase of coal use does not necessarily result in an emissions’ level increase – the former being outweighed by the low energy consumption figures (attributed to the deteriorating economic outlook and, also, the relatively mild winter across Europe).