You may have heard that all that coal we’re not using in the U.S. is going to China. (Thanks, Warren Buffett!) At Wonkblog, Brad Plumer has posted a chart about this that will boggle your mind:
And that’s U.S. coal contributing to that soaring red line — we are exporting more coal than in previous years, because countries like China and India want it. This is why international agreements on how to deal with climate change are essential. It doesn’t matter if we switch over to natural gas, wind, or solar, if the total amount of carbon going into the atmosphere keeps rocketing upwards.
If America switches over to clean energy, the world will be better off than if both the U.S. and China were chowing down on coal. But cutting down U.S. consumption alone isn’t going to fix anything. At the rate we’re going, U.S. consumption is going to be a drop in the coal bucket anyway.