Should we be planning for the end of cheap coal?. The recent IEA report on global energy use trends contained a bit of a surprise. If oil prices remain high and governments make progress on their emissions goals, there's a possibility that the world has already hit peak oil, and that the next few years will see its use plateau for a while before dropping again. Using these same assumptions, the report also said that we could hit peak coal somewhere within the next 20 years. In today's edition of Nature, a commentary suggests that, even skipping those same assumptions, we may hit peak coal before too long, simply because the best and cheapest sources are vanishing fast.