Europe Switches to Coal as US Gas Switch Drives Down Emissions?
In what has to be the irony of ironies, Europe’s consumption of coal grew by 3.3 percent in 2011.
Not that the U.S. coal industry is suffering from the domestic switch to gas, you understand. America’s high-quality coal has had no trouble finding an alternative and lucrative market: Europe. And U.S. coal exports to Europe are only set to increase further.
Far from moving away from burning ‘dirty’ coal, global consumption is rising. According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy released in mid-June, global energy consumption grew by 2.5 percent in 201l in line with long-term trends. However, global coal production also increased last year by almost half a billion tonnes. That’s exceptional. It represents a 6 percent increase in a single year and tops an annual average growth rate of 4.6 percent a year over the last decade. In short, King Coal almost edged out oil as the world’s leading energy resource in 201l hitting 30 percent of global energy consumption. And it is set to surpass (and probably already has) oil as the world’s most important commodity in 2012.
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