Skip to main content

View Diary: There was no 'war on coal,' but there should be. Just not on the backs of miners. Delay is denial (117 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Check out (12+ / 0-)
    Coal Mega Ports planned for Northwest could surpass CO2 impact from Keystone XL

    The expansion of coal exports through the Pacific Northwest potentially could release more CO2 emissions than building the Keystone XL Pipeline. This report was released by the Sightline Institute:

    Coal Exports Are Bigger Threat Than Tar Sands Pipeline pdf
    A carbon comparison of Northwest coal plans and Keystone XL project.

    By Eric de Place

    The planned Keystone XL oil pipeline has earned major national attention for the damage it would do to the climate. At the same time, another climate drama is playing out with much less attention as coal companies make plans to export huge quantities to Asia by way of Pacific Northwest ports. It’s pretty clear that both projects are environmental horror stories, but I’ve been wondering: which one is worse?

    So, from the “King Kong versus Godzilla” files, here’s my analysis of their carbon impacts. It turns out, coal exports are actually the bigger problem—and that’s really saying something.

    The result surprised me: coal exports look to be an even bigger climate disaster than the pipeline. There are, in fact, quite a bit more direct emissions from burning the coal than from the oil. That’s true even when one counts the energy-intensive tar sands extraction and processing—and, of course, there are plenty of upstream emissions associated with coal mining that I’ve left out of the equation here. (In order to make a roughly direct comparison, I also omitted emissions associated with both products’ mining, refining, transportation, and so forth.) Clearly we can ill afford either one of these projects, but until we have a clear energy policy that respects climate science we’ll be wrestling with these kind of killer projects one at a time.

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 02:18:21 PM PST

    •  Does (3+ / 0-)

      that comparison assume if our coal isn't exported, then coal won't be burnt in Asia at all?

      If so, I doubt it.

      We need to jigger reductions in coal consumption in India, China, South Korea and so on. Merely stopping US exports won't make much difference if they just get it from other sources.

      I'd rather see natural gas exports to Asia from relatively stranded sources in Alaska and Canada, to replace coal combustion.

      •  Just blocking exports would discourage them (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lefty Coaster

        from assuming coal will be readily cheap and available from outside their borders. If they have to rely on domestic and regional coal, alternative energy sources will be more appealing.

      •  Fed subsidies make Powder River coal dirt cheap (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093, SolarMom, A Siegel

        cheap US subsidized coal shouldn't be the low cost answer to Asia's demands for more generating capacity.  

        “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

        by Lefty Coaster on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 06:47:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SolarMom, A Siegel, Lefty Coaster

          right, powder river coal from publicly-owned BLM land shouldn't be sold cheap to crank up carbon emissions in Asia.

          Also, this diary errs by claiming that coal exports will increase mountain top mining, etc., as follows;

               "Exporting coal means continuing to strip it and mine    it.    It means mountain-top removal, stream pollution, cave-ins and explosions. It means wrecking the health of not just the miners but also their families."

          To the contrary, All of the West Coast export proposals will ship out low-value Powder River Basin, Wyoming coal, which comes from surface mines, not mountain-top removal.  The powder River coal mining generates very few jobs, compared to underground mining, but exposes almost no one to mining and processing emissions, and doesn't have cave-ins, explosions or much stream pollution.

          That doesn't make it good, either

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site