Coal Exports Could Offset U.S. Emission Reductions
Domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S. may be at their lowest level in two decades. But while coal consumption was down 18% between 2000 and 2012, production only fell by about 5%, and exports made up the difference. “It is estimated that ports under consideration in Oregon and Washington could eventually ship over 100 million tons of coal per year to Asia,” Fowlie reports. “These developments have environmentalists urgently questioning the extent to which increased energy exports will undermine carbon emissions reductions achieved within the U.S.” A key question is whether the exports will increase global energy consumption or offset other production, with one analyst suggesting a reduction in overall carbon pollution.