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US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

Posted by brushworks Zone5-Ohio (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 2, 13 at 12:43

Article appeared in Science Daily

Oct. 26, 2012 �" A report by researchers at The University of Manchester has concluded that whilst the US is burning less coal due to shale gas production, millions of tonnes of unused coal are being exported to the UK, Europe and Asia. As a result, the emissions benefits of switching fuels are overstated.

US CO2 emissions from domestic energy have declined by 8.6% since a peak in 2005, the equivalent of 1.4% per year.

However, the researchers warn that more than half of the recent emissions reductions in the power sector may be displaced overseas by the trade in coal.

Dr John Broderick, lead author on the report from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, comments: "Research papers and newspaper column inches have focussed on the relative emissions from coal and gas.

"However, it is the total quantity of CO2 from the energy system that matters to the climate. Despite lower-carbon rhetoric, shale gas is still a carbon intensive energy source. We must seriously consider whether a so-called "golden age" would be little more than a gilded cage, locking us into a high-carbon future."

Professor Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre notes: "Since 2008 when the shale gas supply became significant, there has been a large increase in US coal exports. This increases global emissions as the UK, Europe and Asia are burning the coal instead. Earlier Tyndall analysis suggests that the role for gas in a low carbon transition is extremely limited, with shale gas potentially diverting substantial funds away from genuinely low and zero carbon alternatives"

This Co-operative commissioned report "Has US Shale Gas Reduced CO2 Emissions?" is the third on shale gas from the Tyndall Centre -- and builds on several years of research and submissions to the UK and European Parliaments as well as the International Energy Agency.

Chris Shearlock, Sustainable Development Manager at The Co-operative, said: "The proponents of shale gas have always claimed that it is a lower carbon alternative to coal. However, this is only true if the coal it displaces remains in the ground and isn't just burnt elsewhere. Without a cap on global carbon emissions, shale gas is burnt in addition to other fossil fuels, increasing total emissions."

Here is a link that might be useful: Science Daily


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

Right. Vast trains full of coal going to Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland are merely shipping it to China. This is why atomistically looking only at one region's emissions misses the forest for the (burning) trees: total planetary emissions are increasing. Thus our temps are increasing, oceans acidifying, permafrost melting, etc.


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

Very interesting perspective; thanks brush.


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

More on the huge effort to export western coal to China at the link, building new terminals, etc.

I also see that China has changed their mind about living with the hideous pollution and smog, now seriously stepping up solar power - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-30/china-to-boost-solar-power-goal-67-as-smog-envelops-beijing.html

interesting times.

Here is a link that might be useful: link about the coal


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

I love trains, I really love trains and I don't mind that I live alongside the tracks in Powell.

CSX hauls coal 5 to 7 times a day and the tracks are less than 200 feet behind my house.

He's a view of what I see and hear daily. This coal is mined in southern Ohio and West Virginia, then hauled to Toledo docks where it's shipped to who knows where.

An average train runs 3 engines pulling about 100 cars. Doesn't seem like we're cutting back on coal.

Here is a link that might be useful: Coal, coal, and more coal


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

Interesting thing about the solar power: China's recent glut of PV panels that were dumped on the global market was because of their air pollution degrading the efficiency of PV panels. Now they are claiming they are ramping up collection. We'll see.


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

Vast trains full of coal going to Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland are merely shipping it to China.

What? That doesn't make any sense. China has the second largest coal reserves in the world (after the US).

-Ron-


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

In contrast, demand for coal is rapidly rising in Asia. U.S. coal exports to China surged from 2009 to 2010, jumping from 387,000 tons (January-September) to over 4 million tons the following year. Demand for US coking and steam coal also grew rapidly in Japan, India, and South Korea. Industry forecasters anticipate a “30-year super cycle in global coal markets.” U.S. companies hope to cash in on the market and dramatically increase coal exports, especially from the Powder River Basin (PRB) of Wyoming and Montana through ports on the US west coast. [5]

U.S. coal exports rose 49 percent during the first quarter of 2011 compared to the previous quarter, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration the .[6]

Edited to add:

It was announced in June 2012 that U.S. coal companies were looking to boost exports through the Gulf of Mexico after meeting resistance to West Coast port expansions. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners stated that the company planned on expanding their terminals in the Gulf and the Southeast, including its Shipyard River operation in Charleston, South Carolina. Kinder announced they were planning to spend $200 million to boost capacity at the location to 8 million tons a year from 2.5 million. The project is set to be completed by 2015.[17]

Here is a link that might be useful: King Coal

This post was edited by brushworks on Sat, Mar 2, 13 at 19:52


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

He's a view of what I see and hear daily. This coal is mined in southern Ohio and West Virginia, then hauled to Toledo docks where it's shipped to who knows where.

My first 'career' was sailing on the ore boats on the Great Lakes. I did that for 17 years. We'd pick up iron ore or later taconite up in Superior/Duluth/Two Harbors and haul it down to Buffalo/Conneaut/Ashtabula/Cleveland/Toledo/Gary/South Chicago/where ever. After we unloaded, we'd clean out, switch docks and load up with coal for one of the power plants on Huron or Superior or Michigan.

Got to see all the 'scenery' on the Lackawanna/Maumee/Cuyahoga/River Rouge. I sure don't miss that.

-Ron-


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

What? That doesn't make any sense. China has the second largest coal reserves in the world (after the US).

Where would it be going then? Europe?


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

US domestic demand for coal will probably decrease from the current 44 percent of US electrical production to as low as 22 percent within the next 20 years, according to some analysts. Demand in the U.S. is dropping primarily due to new natural gas reserve discoveries and Clean Air Act regulations

That is only one of SEVERAL reasons that The US needs to switch to domestic natural gas sources.

As a result, the emissions benefits of switching fuels are overstated.

Prove it. Frankly that is a bizarre theory, that is, that somehow coal exports or exports of any other fossil fuel somehow changes the energy demands or the use of fossil fuels or nuclear energy in other countries. If we halt our exports of fossil fuels does that mean that others countries will go Green? Not at all. That decision is one that we cannot control, unless we are prepared to block fossil fuel exports. Are Republican free-marketers prepared to do that? LOL.

Meanwhile Canadians aren't too worried about global climate or environmental concerns in exporting their tar sand oil. In fact they are pushing for the KXL pipeline all the way through our country and into the Gulf....and then on to the world market. They don't care WHO uses it and in fact we will be getting less of it than we are getting now, which will send up the price for gasoline in the US...especially in the MidWest.

The advantages of natural gas over coal for generating electricity in power plants are well documented. Look up the General Electric gas turbines on Google if you want to read about that. I should also mention that not all natural gas used in power plants is generated from fracking shale.

But once again back on the mistaken unsupported notion that emissions benefits of switching fuels are overstated. This is the "robbing Peter to pay Paul" logic which seems to make sense, until you understand the larger picture. It does not take into account many factors including end use of electrical power generated from those fuels.
The fact is that for a variety or reasons, including energy efficiency, we need to switch to using electricity rather than directly burning fossil fuels to power our homes and autos.

Let me try to explain this again. Once we have a digitally based Smart electric grid homeowners will have the option of generating their own power and sending that to the grid. Millions of homes could be equipped with solar roof panels, geothermal or wind resources which would add energy to the grid and decrease energy bills.

The use of electricity could then be remotely monitored by you and optimized, including everything in your home from your appliances, your HVAC, to your lights to charging your auto battery.

And as far as electric autos, for the umpteenth time, electric motors are more efficient (burn less fuel for a given energy output) than internal combustion gasoline engines. They also have more torque and can be digitally controlled. Just as one example, think about the advantages of having a digitally controlled electric motor for each wheel instead of having aan internal combustion piston engine, a 4WD transmission, a transfer case, front differential, rear differential and speed sensors on each wheel. Think about not having to go to the gasoline station for short trips, or eventually never having to fill up.

We are in the midst of an electric/electronic/digital revolution. IMO we need to build out the infrastructure for that system including solar and wind, and unfortunately, natural gas power plants,,, at least until we have a better solution.

More drilling for oil in deep waters and increasing the strip mining for tar sands are policies that extremely short cited and regressive. It will only put us on a much shorter track to extinction from the planet. (see link below for a further discussion on that).

Here is a link that might be useful: The Great American Carbon Bomb

This post was edited by heri_cles on Sun, Mar 3, 13 at 0:37


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

Here is an article that discusses the recent US State Dept Draft Assessment of the KXL pipeline. See linkage.

Some think this provides cover to the Obama Administration to approve the rest of the pipeline.
Others remain hopeful that people will come to their senses and urge President Obama and their Senators and Congressmen to stop the KXL export pipeline.

I wonder if and how they provide insurance against future spills of tar sand oil in the Gulf of Mexico and how this heavy bitumen will be ever cleaned up once it gets into our Gulf?
It might be more difficult to do what BP did after the Gulf spill - pretend all that oil just went away and spend millions on advertising about how they are committed to the Gulf, its residents and the millions who visit and vacation there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Draft Assessment of Tar Sands Pipeline


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

Nine reasons China won’t need enough coal to justify coal ports in the Pacific Northwest
By David Roberts
U.S. coal companies claim that exporting low-grade coal from the Powder River Basin through ports in the Pacific Northwest to Asia is big business, a sure thing, easily worth the pollution and disruption the new coal infrastructure would cause. Their case to investors, local communities, and state regulators is based on a simple premise: China’s demand for coal is steady and rising. And that does seem to be the conventional wisdom.

But there are reasons to think the premise is false, and that the extraordinary sacrifices being asked of Northwest communities ��" dozens of trains a day passing through, spewing dust and noise; gigantic, polluting ports crowding out the cultural amenities in some of America’s most bucolic coastal towns ��" will lead not to jobs and enduring prosperity, but wasted time, wasted money, and disappointment.

I’ve been seeing threads of this story here and there for a while. Now Greenpeace USA has done us the service of weaving them all together into a (remarkably brief and readable, as these things go) new report: “The Myth of China’s Endless Coal Demand.” It acknowledges that China will continue to rely on coal in the short term, but notes that long-term trends are not in coal’s favor:

[China] is deliberately, and quite effectively, decoupling its economic growth from coal such that future economic growth may not manifest in increased coal consumption. The results of this decoupling are already present: A rapid expansion in hydroelectricity, wind, and solar has pushed down coal’s share of energy production from 85% to 73%, and this trend will continue. …

… Assuming Chinese coal demand continues to weaken and that it sticks to its policies to curb coal use and increase renewable investment, the Chinese market for US coal exports may dry up before major new US coal shipments ever reach its ports. [my emphasis]

Imagine all those coal trains and ports built only to find that the market for their wares has collapsed. It’s not hard to imagine ��" it’s happened before! (See No. 8 below.)

Here are the report’s nine reasons why China’s coal demand will not be steady and rising, not enough to justify risky bets on U.S. coal ports:

A desperate industry ��" not sound economics ��" is driving U.S. coal export proposals.
China produces nearly all of the coal it consumes.
China’s economic growth is slowing.
Coal use in China is flattening out.
Chinese policy caps on coal production and consumption will decouple economic growth from coal.
Renewable energy is on the rise.
Chinese society is resisting coal and becoming more aware of its impacts on health and water.
Unstable Asian demand has sunk U.S. coal export proposals in the past.
International competitors recognize flagging Chinese demand.
You can dig into the report for facts and figures on all those, each of which is probably worth its own post. A great deal hinges on the Chinese government’s ability to get a handle on provincial party leaders who have spent decades being rewarded for growth (said growth measured in part by the rise in energy use). If China’s central government makes decarbonization and energy efficiency tickets to advancement in the party, it could meet or exceed its ambitious energy-intensity targets. And it’s difficult to predict the course of civil unrest, but given the severity of the air-quality crisis in China and the fact that some large cities are banning further coal development outright, it’s not hard to see a middle-class coal backlash accelerating the process more than anyone now expects.

(Side note: For a careful and thorough examination of how the Chinese government is currently doing on its energy goals, see “China’s 2012 Energy Report Card” from super-wonk Trevor Houser.)

Are Pacific Northwest towns really going to gamble on Chinese coal use? In this day and age? The Chinese themselves are explicitly working to rein coal in; they recognize, with the rest of the world, that their rising coal consumption is the single global energy trend most likely to doom future generations to an out-of-control climate. Seems like kind of a creepy thing to hang your economic future on, doesn’t it?

The Pacific Northwest is full of climate hawks and innovators, entrepreneurs and green-minded politicians. It is well-positioned to be a leader in the 21st-century race to sustainability. What a disaster it would be, how pathetic, to enter that race hobbled by a flailing last grasp at dirty coal money.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grist


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

It doesn't matter which country is utilizing coal or tar sands oil, climate change will continue to wreak havoc across the globe. Green or dirty, we will not be spared.

Exported coal is substantially more harmful than tar sands oil.

The Canadians have a resource in tar sands oil and petcoke (a dirty, dangerous by-product) that will be sold. We can politicize it, but that won't stop it from being exported, used and accelerating climate change in a big, big way.

Do you feel like you're arm wrestling a gorilla?

Here is a link that might be useful: Exporting Keystone Crud(e)


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

China buying up Canadian fossil fuel resources.

One doesn't need to use fossil fuel resources, just owning them is a way to control the world

Here is a link that might be useful: China Canada Trade Pact


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

The Canadians have a resource in tar sands oil and petcoke (a dirty, dangerous by-product) that will be sold. We can politicize it, but that won't stop it from being exported, used and accelerating climate change in a big, big way.

False. If you bothered to read the information at the links I posted you would know that is not the case. The KXL pipeline will allow Canada to ramp up tar sands exports three fold, according to their own estimates. Why do you think they are pushing for it so hard?

Not only is our domestic natural gas a better alternative until we transition to renewable energy, but other fossil fuels
that burn cleaner than bitumen are a better alternative for other countries. Perhaps you should read up on the production, distribution, piping, refining and burning of tar sand oil so you have a better idea of the facts and really what you are talking about, because you make no sense whatsoever. Everyone understands that we have to transition from our reliance on fossil fuels, we are just trying to buy time to figure this out. Not understanding that we have to slow the insanity of tar sand oil is just choosing to live in a bubble and ignoring facts and science.

Exported coal is substantially more harmful than tar sands oil.
LOL! There you go again. I didn't know it was you in there, but I'll try my best to burst your little balloon when I can.

This post was edited by heri_cles on Sun, Mar 3, 13 at 9:32


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

How long ago were we talking about building enormous, dangerous LNG ports to help satisfy the US demand by importing natural gas - Five years ago?

Point being that things can change drastically in a very short time.


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

Here is a start for you brushwork. Read and learn and try to keep an open mind.

Yes we all want Peace in the World and we want to switch to renewable energy tomorrow. There is a process of getting to those idealistic goals, and it is not doing nothing or worse yet, obstructing progress with GOP pizz and vinegar, TParty bulsh1t and anger, or Boehner's tears and fears.

It occurs that perhaps the "smart" grid is just too complicated for the "stupid party." Well, some of socialist liberals try to change that dynamic here at the HT forum.
=======================
"“Smart grid” generally refers to a class of technology people are using to bring utility electricity delivery systems into the 21st century, using computer-based remote control and automation. These systems are made possible by two-way communication technology and computer processing that has been used for decades in other industries. They are beginning to be used on electricity networks, from the power plants and wind farms all the way to the consumers of electricity in homes and businesses. They offer many benefits to utilities and consumers -- mostly seen in big improvements in energy efficiency on the electricity grid and in the energy users’ homes and offices.

Much in the way that a “smart” phone these days means a phone with a computer in it, smart grid means “computerizing” the electric utility grid. It includes adding two-way digital communication technology to devices associated with the grid. Each device on the network can be given sensors to gather data (power meters, voltage sensors, fault detectors, etc.), plus two-way digital communication between the device in the field and the utility’s network operations center. A key feature of the smart grid is automation technology that lets the utility adjust and control each individual device or millions of devices from a central location.

The number of applications that can be used on the smart grid once the data communications technology is deployed is growing as fast as inventive companies can create and produce them. Benefits include enhanced cyber-security, handling sources of electricity like wind and solar power and even integrating electric vehicles onto the grid."

Here is a link that might be useful: Smart Grid 101


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

We can't transition to renewable energy with the dumb grid - deep sea oil wells, tar oil fields, pipelines, refineries, oil tankers, gasoline stations, and related infrastructure.

We need a foundation upon which to build that and that has to begin right now, not twenty years from now. Continuing to approve more projects like KXL simply vectors climate change on the one hand and on the other, it discourages and delays any investment into a smart grid, renewable energy, or the applications that are tied to it. Doing nothing but drill baby drill does nothing for our economy but make us slaves to the oil and gas industry.
And that does nothing for our economy, especially when we desperately need all the jobs that will be created from a new energy economy. We can do better than creating a few jobs for digging for more frickkin pipelines, can't we?
Or is the too much of a Socialistic, liberal, open minded progressive concept and strategy for our energy future to even ponder?

This post was edited by heri_cles on Sun, Mar 3, 13 at 11:16


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

"Or is the too much of a Socialistic, liberal, open minded progressive concept and strategy for our energy future to even ponder?

Well, its what China is doing as fast as they can.

Here, we depend on private enterprise w/o job-killing regulations, able to rig some marvelous con about selling energy locally at world wide-prices set by speculators and their computers in Hong Kong and London. Thats how we roll.

Need I say more?

This post was edited by david52 on Sun, Mar 3, 13 at 13:44


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

I hate to say it... but there's no time to buy while "we figure it out".

The time to "figure it out" has passed us by. The time to move to sustainable, renewable, clean energy is yesterday.


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RE: US Shale Gas Drives Up Coal Exports

Heri,,

Back up for a minute. Where have I endorsed the tar sands oil?

And everything I've posted is supported by Science literature, even that coal is more harmful than tar sands. Your hype seems to stem from emotional hatred for Republicans and Canadians.

Read my links.

Jodik,

You're absolutely right.


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