While the latest Energy Information Administration numbers show that there is a decrease in coal demand in the U.S., coal is being exported to other parts of the world where demand is going up. This recent trend is a good example of why the issue of global warming must be looked at for the planet as a whole, because what matters is the absolute amount of greenhouse gas from fossil fuel sources that we pump into it. Europe and Asia have shown the most dramatic upward trends in coal usage while the U.S. is the only region going down. The reason for the drop in demand for coal in the United States is due primarily to the availability of cheap gas. So while coal demand growth is slowing, coal’s share of the global energy mix is still rising, and by 2017 coal will come close to surpassing oil as the world’s top energy source. Coal needs to be at the top of the priority list for environmentalists and policymakers right now because it is the most carbon-intensive source of energy and has many other detrimental effects to our health and environment.
Source: Coal use declining in the U.S. (yay!) but going up everywhere else (boo!) by: Michael Graham Richard