The Return of the King (Coal, That Is)

As a sequel to yesterday’s note about the Obama administration’s war on coal (“Coal in the Balance”), it is worth noting that the rest of the world is not following our peculiar mania.  Despite all of the bold talk of reducing carbon emissions by all the brave declaration-signers at the annual UN climate jamborees, the long-range projections by the International Energy Agency and other sober-minded analysis show that coal is going to surpass oil as the world’s leading energy source by 2030.  King coal is going to keep its crown.  At least in other nations.

China?  Hey, China is going whole hog for renewables, right?  Tom Friedman told me so.  Well check out the IEA’s projection for China’s future energy mix:

Here’s how the Malthusian-oriented World Resources Institute sizes up the matter:

Our research shows that 1,199 new coal-fired plants with a total installed capacity of 1,401,268 megawatts (MW) are being proposed globally. If all of these projects are built, it would add new coal power capacity that is almost four times the current capacity of all coal-fired plants in the United States.  (My emphasis.)

And here’s their nifty chart:

The United States may well persevere with killing our own coal-fired power base, or cheap natural gas may outcompete coal in the marketplace even in the absence of an EPA crusade.  The next battle will be to see whether we decide to double down on suicide by stopping coal exports.  Lots of these countries would like to buy our coal, especially the low-sulfur coal from our leading coal-producing state, Wyoming. Banning coal exports is next on the agenda.

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