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While We’re On The Topic of Fossil Exports

coal exports

A quick note to expand upon yesterday’s post about LNG exports and the FERC approval of Cove Point.

President “All of the Above” Obama’s energy policy has driven huge increases in US fossil energy exploration, production (coal, oil, & gas) and infrastructure systems – from coal mines, to oil & gas wells, to rail, pipelines and ports.

That production and infrastructure expansion has led to increases in exports across the board – not just for LNG.

In case you missed all this, read:

This massive increase comes at a time when climate scientist are saying we must make quick and deep greenhouse gas emissions cuts – and leave 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground – in order to avoid tipping points and irreversible catastrophic runaway climate change that will destroy our agricultural and industrial society.

Contrary to the alleged Obama Administration’s “War on Coal”, coal exports are at historic highs (see above 2013 data – 2014 data thus far are down slightly, but that may be seasonal).

Same story for oil:

And for natural gas, which may be worse than coal:

See: US Natural Gas – Gross Withdrawals (EIA)

gas production

Projections are for even more growth in domestic fossil production and exports.

I haven’t crunched the numbers or researched the question, but my guess is that the increases in fossil production and exports offsets any greenhouse gas emissions reductions Obama is touting his administration is responsible for (see his UN Climate Summit speech – where Obama doesn’t mention any of this:

Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution by more than any other nation on Earth.  But we have to do more.  Last year, I issued America’s first Climate Action Plan to double down on our efforts.  Under that plan, my administration is working with states and utilities to set first-ever standards to cut the amount of carbon pollution our power plants can dump into the air.  And when completed, this will mark the single most important and significant step the United States has ever taken to reduce our carbon emissions.

And keep in mind that Obama is referring here to the EPA proposed rule on existing coal power plants. That rule is not yet adopted. At best, if every state does 100% of what EPA has projected, then power sector emissions would decline just 30% by 2030.

I guarantee that that will not happen, due to the EPA’s rule, which is based on cost effective, flexible strategies and state partnerships – code for lack of a big federal stick.

The US power sector accounts for something like 40% of US emissions, so that EPA rule’s best case is just a 12% reduction in total US emissions (2006 baseline)- and it does not account for US exports or the projected emissions growth resulting from economic growth.

Keep these kind of numbers in mind the next time you read some White House or EPA spin transcribed by the news media.

And consider these realities as why protest and direct action to stop the fossil madness are moral imperatives.

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