Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Coal is King - Again

We've been warned. Climate scientists have told us that the only hope we have of avoiding warming of 2 degrees Celsius is to leave high-carbon fossil fuels, that is to say coal and bitumen, in the ground, unburned. We have to do that and rapidly wean ourselves off the much cleaner fossil fuels, light oil and natural gas. You have to do both. The alternative is to trigger runaway global warming. That's when we trigger tipping points that activate natural feedback loops that could generate greenhouse gas emissions as great as and probably even greater than man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

They've told us. We know what the deal is if we want our civilization to survive. We know what the deal is if we don't. All the cards are on the table.

We, I, criticize Justin a lot for his decision to expedite the extraction and export of just as much Athabasca bitumen as possible as fast as possible. We've been warned not to do that but we're doing it anyway.

Now it's Trump's turn to wreak havoc on mankind and the environment generally. In Trump's case it's coal: metallurgical coal for steel making, thermal coal for electricity. Donald Trump has fulfilled his promise to make American coal great again.
After several dismal years, U.S. coal exports surged by 60 percent last year to 97 million tons, not far from the record export numbers reached in 2012 when the domestic market for coal nosedived, according to new figures just published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Exports of both the kind of coal used for power plants and coal used for steelmaking surged, with double- or triple-digit growth to every continent. The top buyers of U.S. coal were India, South Korea, the Netherlands, and Brazil.

In the rest of the world ...coal is still widely used, and simple economics explain much of the turnaround and renewed appetite for U.S. coal. Increased demand for coal overseas led to slightly higher prices in 2017 compared with 2016, which made U.S. coal more competitive on global markets. 
But it’s not just economics. The Trump administration’s energy and trade policies also seem to have helped drive a renaissance in coal exports — for now. 
Reduced regulation for U.S. coal production, including fewer mine safety inspections and laxer environmental rules, has lowered costs for producers, especially in Appalachia. That can make pricier U.S. coal just cheap enough to warrant shipping it halfway around the world. 
And Trump’s repeated calls for other countries to buy U.S. energy as a way to help correct skewed trade balances may have paid dividends, especially in Asia and Europe. On a visit to Poland last summer, Trump implored Central and Eastern European nations to buy U.S. energy, partly as a way to compensate for trade imbalances in other sectors. Polish imports of U.S. coal jumped more than fivefold; Ukrainian imports more than doubled.
And that, kids, is that. Keep that in mind when you're sitting down with your kids tonight.


Anonymous said...

Do not forget about environmentally "progressive" Germany which is burning extremely dirty brown coal like no tomorrow. When it comes to cleaning the planet, others are supposed to pick up the slack.

Because Pictures! said...

And apparently only two thirds of us believe our use of fossil fuels is causing climate change anyway. That’s one fact I would prefer to deny.