The United States has massive coal reserves, and we exported about 100 million tons of it last year. Most of that coal went to Mexico, Canada and Europe, but a significant amount also went to fuel China’s insatiable demand for coal-fired electricity.
China burns about 3.7 billion tons of coal a year, which is about three times what the U.S. uses. As a general rule, their power plants are less clean than ours, and even our outdated plants do a better job of keeping pollutants out of the atmosphere. China also burns predominantly high-polluting, high sulfur coal, which is much dirtier than most of what we use.
Our politicians can’t seem to grasp that we live on a globe, and they’ve imposed crippling environmental regulations on U.S. coal-fired power plants. Power companies have decided it’s cheaper to take the plants off-line then to upgrade them, and as a consequence, the price for electricity in the U.S. is going to increase in the next few years.
Instead of using coal, the most abundant fuel in our country, we’re going to end up shipping it to other countries. They’re still going to burn it, but they’ll do it in a manner that causes more pollution and greenhouse gases than if we used it ourselves. And, as a final FU to the American public, we’ll see our electric bills increase dramatically in the process.
That’ll do, politicians. That’ll do.