US shale gas drives up coal exports

October 29, 2012

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 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 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 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 it displaces remains in the ground and isn't just burnt elsewhere. Without a cap on , is burnt in addition to other fossil fuels, increasing total emissions."

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not rated yet Oct 29, 2012
If the importers of U.S. coal weren't importing it from the U.S., what would they be doing? Getting it from someplace else. Coal is a commodity.
I concur with the goal of zero-carbon energy, but this is not a productive way to approach the problem.
1.7 / 5 (3) Oct 29, 2012
Coal: not in my back yard. I'd rather live next to TMI than a Coal plant. There's less radiation at TMI lol.
2 / 5 (4) Oct 29, 2012
Whether or not you believe in AGW or not(i don't), this is why Capitalism Prevails! Just let the market work and you will have better end results like less pollution but more energy/wealth to go around. Capitalism provides better trade offs.

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