WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) -- As world leaders try to generate momentum for an international agreement on and solution to climate change, large amounts of coal continue to be produced and burned. In fact, coal consumption now accounts for more than 30 percent of the world's energy market -- its highest share in 44 years.
According to a recently released report, the "BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2014," coal consumption grew three percent in 2013 -- more than any other energy source.
That's a dip from coal's ten year average; consumption of the fuel has grown nearly 4 percent per year over the last decade.
It's bad news for those who had hoped alternative and renewable energy sources would cut into the dominance of dirtier, more traditional sources like coal. Although renewables continue to grow, especially wind and solar, they can't keep up with cheaper and more popular competitors like coal.
Americans -- who sit on the largest coal reserves in the world -- are using less coal, thanks to the abundance of cheaper shale gas. But the U.S. is still producing and exporting the fuel to Europe and Asia in huge amounts, chiefly China and India.
Though China's energy consumption growth rate declined slightly, BP report authors pointed out that "the country still accounted for 67 percent of global growth."
"India experienced its second largest volumetric increase on record and accounted for 21% of global growth," economists at BP wrote.
Coal is now challenging oil for the tile of world's most popular energy source. Though oil still accounts for the largest slice of the world's energy pie, at 33 percent, its the least popular its been in years.