China and India Report Record Coal Production

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Editors Note: We find it amazing that US policymakers and environmental zealots keep pushing Net Zero policies on America but seem to forget entirely what China and India are doing. The same goes for many coal-using European countries. If you buy into the theory of “global warming,” why are restrictive policies placed selectively and a blind eye turned to the rest of the world? Does global temperature care where the C02 comes from? Well, we don’t buy into the theory, but even if one does, the sacrifice the US is making means nothing if India and China continue using coal at record tonnage. Either environmental policy makers are glaringly ignorant or they are deliberately out to harm the industrial capacity of the US and the economic security of its people.  Neither alternative is cause for comfort.  It is either willful ignorance or malicious intent.  Your pick.

Back in April, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a new final rule that will force U.S. coal-fired power plants to install carbon capture systems or shut down operations. The rule is a key part of President Biden’s pledge to eliminate all energy sources that emit carbon dioxide by 2035 in the electricity sector and by 2050 for home heating, steel production, and all other uses.

But, as Tsvetana Paraskova reported in May, the Biden Administration plan faces insurmountable problems, given that fossil fuels still provide 60 percent of total U.S. electricity generation. Coal’s share has fallen to 16 percent, while natural gas accounts for 43 percent. Coal-fired power generation is highest during summer heatwaves when wind power is intermittent. Thus, coal still supplies more electric power than wind (11 percent), hydropower (6 percent), or solar (4 percent).

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The push seeks to eradicate not just coal but all fossil fuels from American society. The fly in Biden’s ointment is more like the elephant in a tiny room. Around the world, countries large and small are far more concerned about providing energy and electricity for their citizens than pursuing a fearmonger-led “crusade” to rid the planet of life-giving carbon dioxide.

Here at home, five states – North Dakota, Missouri, Kentucky, Wyoming, and West Virginia — still rely on coal for more than half their electricity generation. Data centers, artificial intelligence, and electric vehicles are using greater and greater shares of existing power, taxing utilities struggling to keep energy supply at levels sufficient to meet energy demand.

Over in Europe, where official enthusiasm for ending fossil fuels has at times surpassed that of America’s, even Germany has reopened a coal-fired power plant, and other European countries are pondering their own need for alternatives to Russian natural gas. EU lignite production dropped to 240 megatons in 2020 from over 300 megatons in the 2010s.

Four EU countries mine hard coal, led by Poland and Germany, with annual production at about 150 megatons a year in the recent past. Coal still provides 70 percent of Poland’s electric power, while coal’s share in Germany is well above 25 percent. Coal provides about 11 percent of Russia’s electricity, making it the world’s fifth-largest consumer of coal.

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Prior to invading Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced a new national goal to achieve net zero carbon dioxide by 2060 – long after the West’s self-imposed deadline. Other nations outside the globalist cabal based in Doha and Brussels (and Washington, DC) are even less inclined to end coal production; India and China, notably, are moving in the other direction.

Back in April, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was overjoyed to report that his nation had produced over 1 billion metric tons of coal and lignite in the 2023-24 fiscal year, at nearly 100 million tons more than in 2022-23. Modi, whose nation still needs a lot more electric power to meet its first-world goals, lauded the production as “a remarkable feat and a historic milestone toward self-reliance” in a vital sector.

new report from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and the Global Energy Monitor (GEM) says that coal power plant permitting, construction starts, and new project announcements accelerated dramatically in China in 2022, with new permits reaching the highest level since 2015. China’s coal power capacity starting construction was six times as large as that in the rest of the world combined.

National Public Radio’s Julia Simon reports that China’s heat waves increased demand for air conditioning and dried up rivers, forcing Chinese hydropower facilities to shut down. Aiqun Yu, co-author of the CREA-GEM report, noted that high prices for liquefied natural gas due to the Russia-Ukraine war led another Chinese province to turn to coal.

The CREA-GEM report somewhat greenwashes China’s commitment to coal, claiming that the “massive additions of new coal-fired capacity don’t necessarily mean that coal use or CO2 emissions from the power sector will increase in China.” After all, China is also building wind, solar, and nuclear energy facilities, and President Xi has “pledged that China would reduce coal consumption in the 2026-2030 period.”

This, the authors said apologetically, “would mean a declining utilization rate” rather than continued growth in coal-fired power generation. Surely, they say without words, China will phase out these expensive new coal plants within the next eight years. And pigs fly.

Still, the CREA-GEM team found it necessary to include some “policy recommendations” to instruct President Xi in how to stay in the good graces of the Net Zero overlords. First, they said China must impose strict controls on new coal power capacity and reject or revoke permits to projects not necessary for “supporting grid stability” or “supporting the integration of variable renewable energy.”

Way back in 2020, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told India it should commit to carbon neutrality by ending fossil fuel subsidies and investing in solar power. Claiming that investing in coal is “bad economics,” Guterres said India can only become a “true global superpower in the fight against climate change if it speeds up its shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”

Did Prime Minister Modi bow and scrape to Guterres?

Guterres, in the same year, went all the way to Beijing to “urge” China to stop funding coal projects because (OMG!) the Paris climate agreement goals will slip out of reach without China’s cooperation. There, too, he begged the “economic superpower” to genuflect, whispering that “the way in which China restores growth will have a major impact on whether we can keep 1.5C within reach” in the post-pandemic world (spoken at the height of the pandemic!).

Was President Xi so flattered by the former Prime Minister of Portugal that he immediately stopped all future plans for new coal-fired power plants in China?

Back in November 2021, forty-something countries, including coal-reliant Poland, Vietnam, and Chile, all committed to shift away from coal. The U.S. and 19 other nations would only pledge to end public financing for “unabated” fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of 2022.

What would happen if only the West and its friends abandoned fossil fuels?

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This article was published by CFACT, The Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, and is reproduced with permission.

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