While President Obama, in a June 25 speech on climate change, literally sounded the death knell for coal utilization, of which the U.S. retains the world’s largest reserves, statistical facts have proven that killing America’s coal production will prove to be counterproductive, to say the least.
This is not only true in that carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. were down 3.9% in 2012, but that such effluence has actually soared in some of the world’s most significant producers. China, which uses the world’s largest percentage of global coal production, surged by 6%, while India, riding the crest of increased industrialization, was up a sharp 6.9%; Mexico up 4.3%; and Brazil 2.5%. Even Germany, the leading industrial state of the European Union, which has imposed the world’s most stringent regulations on curbing carbon dioxide emissions, generated a 1.3% increase last year.
The U.S., in attempting to set an example for the rest of the industrial world, saw its coal consumption dive by 11.9% in the previous year. This decrease has been largely orchestrated by strangulating regulatory burdens, plus the outburst of more cost-effective natural gas through “fracking.” This is rapidly dominating the power generation of America’s utilities.
But, according to official reports, coal consumption in 2012 grew by an equivalent of two million barrels of oil per day for the rest of the world. And this expansion is due to an increase of global demand for electric power, which is on a sharp rise, being largely met by coal usage.
Ironically, the U.S. is largely responsible for stoking this demand, setting a one-month export record of 13.6 million tons of coal in March, after an all-time peak export volume of 126 million tons for all of 2012.
This brings up the interesting question as to whether the White House is willing to literally “outlaw” coal by making illegal the production of that abundant fossil fuel, which it has already demonized. This is possible, if climatological and health factors relating to coal are pronounced as injurious to the nation’s future health.
However, it is unlikely that even the extremist Administration’s policy makers would dare to cross that bridge; especially due to the continued weak overall economy and the political implications that such a “bombshell” would unleash. But it should not be forgotten that President Obama’s former EPA point person, Lisa Jackson, pronounced during last year’s Congressional hearings, “It’s my objective to bankrupt coal.” When asked if that wouldn’t play havoc with the economy, she answered, “That is not an area of my concern.”
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