A terrifying graph

In North America coal use might be down thanks to the abundance of cheap natural gas but the global perspective looks very different:

According to the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy, coal consumption grew 5.4 percent in 2011 and coal production grew by 6.1 percent, giving the resource a 30 percent share of the global energy market. The steep decline in U.S. consumption was offset by a massive increase in the Asia Pacific region, which accounted for all the net growth in 2011.

That growth in coal consumption was the primary driver of the record levels of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2011, causing a leading energy economist to worry that “the door to a 2°C trajectory is about to close.”

Comments:

  1. Just wondering if some of that coal came from the US. It would be kind of ironic if environmentalists succeeded in blocking our use of coal to generate electricity and then China and Asia started using more of our coal...

    • Some of that coal undoubtedly come from the US. But the reason coal use is down in the US is not because of environmentalists but because of cheap abundant natural gas.

      But your comment does highlight an important point: it isn't enough to stop coal fired power plants if you don't at the same time stop the coal mines. In other words the coal needs to stay in the ground, but be shipped out and burned elsewhere.

    • Trainloads of Powder River coal travel to the coal export facility in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, daily. Traditionally the US portion of the exported coal has gone to Japan and South Korea. {I don't know about the Canadian portion.]

      Additional export terminals are in the due dilligence stage in Washing state and Oregon.


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