by Robert Bryce
August 07, 2012
There’s no denying that coal has earned its reputation as a relatively dirty fuel. But those concerned about CO2 emissions and climate change should realize that the administration’s attack on coal is little more than a token gesture. The rest of the world will continue to burn coal, and lots of it. Reducing the domestic use of coal may force Americans to pay higher prices for electricity, but it will have nearly no effect on global emissions. Even if the EPA and the Obama administration succeed in prohibiting new coal-fired electricity generation in the United States, they will leave global coal demand and CO2 emissions almost unchanged. Over the past decade or so, American coal consumption fell by 5 percent, but global coal consumption soared, growing by about the same amount as the growth in oil, natural gas, and nuclear combined. Coal now fuels about 40 percent of global electricity production.