Here’s a tester for you. Which raft of energy policies gets proven ‘greener’ results? Is it the anti-fossil fuel, cap-and-trade regulatory regimes of socialist Europe? Or is it the path of technological innovation set by the ‘evil’ capitalists in the Kyoto-eschewing Bush White House?
In what has to be the irony of ironies, Europe’s consumption of coal grew by 3.3 percent in 2011. The increase was directly due to the glut of European Trading Scheme (ETS) emission allowances which made coal the most profitable electric power fuel. Over in the United States in 2012, however, coal burning to generate power continued to decline, primarily due to America’s switch to shale gas. Natural gas emits around half the CO2 of coal. U.S. levels of carbon emission are currently plummeting; a feat Europe has no chance of matching, not least as coal use is on the increase. It’s a situation that ought to bring the whole raft of EU market-interfering policies geared to reducing carbon emissions into sharper focus. Policies that can only be characterize by three S’s: sheer synchronized stupidity.
Not that the U.S. coal industry is suffering from the domestic switch to gas, you understand. America’s high-quality coal has had no trouble finding an alternative and lucrative market: Europe. And U.S. coal exports to Europe are only set to increase further.