Even the IEA can't do math. No one understands growth!!

I was looking at the IAE statistics about coal, and I came across a couple of different statements that stand in sharp contrast.  First there was this:
Total recoverable reserves of coal around the world are estimated at 909 billion tons—reflecting a current reserves-to-production ratio of 129 years.  Historically, estimates of world recoverable coal reserves, although relatively stable, have declined gradually from 1,145 billion tons in 1991 to 1,083 billion tons in 2000 and 909 billion tons in 2008.  Although the decline in estimated reserves is sizable, the large reserves-to-production ratio for world coal indicates that sufficient coal will be available to meet demand well into the future. (emphasis mine)
Above this statement on the same page was this graph

accompanied by this statement:
The growth rate for coal consumption is uneven, averaging 1.1 percent per year from 2007 to 2020 and 2.0 percent per year from 2020 to 2035.
So what if we apply the growth rate they predict onto the reserves they claim exist.  Then how long do we have?  Well, applying their own rates of growth, by 2035 we will have used up 23% of reserves, but then it only takes 19 more years, until 2054, to use up half of all reserves.  In the real world, we would have peaked by then, and production would be declining.  However, if we continue to assume a 2% rate of growth, all the reserves would be gone by 2078.  That's only 77 years in the future--not 129.  Still a long way off, but possibly within the lifetime of my daughter.  So IEA is overoptimistic by more than 50 years.  Since a typical coal plant is designed for a 40-year life, but is often recommissioned for even longer, we'd have to take into account that ones being built just 15-20 years from now would not have anything to burn before they are retired.

It's actually much worse than that, though.  Since unmanaged peak production would likely occur within 40-50 years, plants being built now would start being underutilized prior to their retirement.
Although for climate change reasons, we need to start retiring coal plants last year, and we need to see declines in the use of coal really fast, even a total skeptic would have to see that continuing to build at a willy-nilly pace doesn't even make economic sense.

We see these sorts of statements all the time.  Whenever a statement is made about how much of a resource is left, it will always be "at current rates of consumption."  But often almost in the same breath we will hear that use of this resource is growing at some x% growth.

This dangerous mistake is so endemic, that I recommend everybody watch this series of videos:

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