There is certainly no sustained increase in coal usage in Germany.
That is not what I am reading about Germany. Despite the much hyped gains in renewables, those gains have been offset by the reduction in nuclear and the rise of coal use
And I doubt there is any in Japan either. Japan used oil plants as fall back in power production, not coal plants.
And that is not what I am reading about in Japan either where there are "Plans by Japanese companies to spend billions of dollars on new coal-fired plants"
If the plans all come to fruition, Japan's coal-fired power capacity would increase to around 47 gigawatts over the next decade or so, up 21% from the time right before the Fukushima accident.
So, we have increases in coal in Japan and Germany. China is still using coal like gang busters to power the largest industrial economy in the world, but to their credit they are also making a big investments in nuclear, solar, hydro and wind. The US is basically shifting to more natural gas which is better than coal, but nuclear is pretty much stalled and solar and wind are growing at a fast pace relative to their relatively low percentage of the energy mix, but isn't going to make a real dent in CO2 anytime soon unless those renewable growth rates are sustainable... but those growth rates aren't sustainable because all the easier locations for solar and wind are being built out first which should result in a slowdown in the adoption curve in future years unless solar panel prices really plummet and then the economics of it really changes.
Also, I noticed in one of those articles that Japan was promoting coal for developing economies, which would put us even further into a CO2 hole and undermine progress being made elsewhere as developing economies embrace coal as the lowest cost alternative. If the highly stable and developed economies are embracing coal, the developing world is embracing coal, then the current efforts for renewables look like little more than window dressing on the fact that Global Climate change is really being considered as a fait accompli by the world's decision makers.
I take Climate change seriously. I would rather not have the world experience the worst case scenarios, but I think that if we are going to avoid that worst case scenarios, then most environmentalists need to stop opposing nuclear or we might as well just do nothing now and pray for a technological miracle sometime before it is too late. Personally I would rather put forward a viable plan now that includes government subsidies and incentives for big increases in solar and wind, big increases in nuclear and maybe natural gas for the remaining 20% of the mix. I think that moving away from oil and coal and eventually most natural gas is doable. But not if you think that solar panels and wind turbines are going to provide for all our energy needs alone, not at anywhere near these population levels they won't.