Tuesday, February 21, 2012

India To Surpass China as Largest Coal Importer; China "Blowing Past" US in Coal Production

Don sent me this Bloomberg link:
India is poised to surpass China as the world’s biggest thermal coal importer as Prime Minister Manhoman Singh seeks supplies for power makers that have halted plans for $36 billion of new plants because of a fuel shortage. Purchases from abroad may exceed 118 million metric tons this year in India, compared with China’s 102 million tons.
The article is one of the longer articles I've read on this subject, and is one of the more in-depth articles on the subject that I've read, and these two words were not mentioned anywhere in the article: global warming.

Canada has pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, Germany has pulled the plug on solar energy and the Netherlands has pulled the plug on off-shore wind energy, and Spain has suspended all renewable energy projects. It almost appears that the US alone is carrying the weight of anthropogenic global warming prevention.

Meanwhile, another link which is also very, very good (and very long) on the state of coal industry in China and the US (and, again, minimal mention of global warming): 
Among the forces at play are federal power plant regulations that are more costly for coal than for other fuels, a barrage of environmentalist litigation hitting individual coal plants, and stiff competition from a glut of inexpensive domestic natural gas that is facing less aggressive attention from the EPA.

Other factors include rising coal prices for power plants amid increasing transportation costs and industry pressures from countries like China.

Coal is still the top dog in the U.S. power supply, serving as the fuel for about 45 percent of U.S. electricity. But the Energy Information Administration has predicted that coal’s share of the U.S. market will drop to 39 percent by 2035, assuming no changes in legislation or regulations.

Some members of Congress worry that coal could have no real future at the hands of the EPA.

U.S. exports have risen only slightly while China is blowing past the United States in production and consumption of coal. In 2010 China produced around triple the amount of coal that the U.S. did, though in recent years the Chinese have also dramatically increased coal imports.

In many ways, this outlook is a relief for the U.S. coal industry, providing an opportunity for export as China can hardly keep up with its own energy demand. But it has also led China to barrel forward on renewable technologies, “clean” coal science and a variety of other efficiency measures that the country hopes will eventually catch up with its now-insatiable appetite for power. In the meantime, most of China’s coal imports come from Australia and Indonesia.
My hunch: when it comes to fracking rules, the states with much to lose with regard to fracking will get help from states which much to lose from coal regulations, and that, without question, is more than enough to hold back the EPA. Unfortunately, faux-environmental lawyers and judges can hold things up for years even without new rules and regulations. 

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