Skip to comments.Gore's nightmare: Europe turns to U.S. coal
Posted on 11/06/2007 10:29:51 AM PST by Abathar
Now that the price of coal is at a historic low relative to oil, there's no stopping consumers and producers alike from embracing Al Gore's nightmare.
A ton of U.S. coal is so cheap at about $47 (U.S.) that European utilities will pay $50 to ship it across the Atlantic, according to Galbraith's Ltd., a 263-year-old London shipbroker. While oil and coal cost the same as recently as 1998, West Texas Intermediate crude is now five times more expensive after climbing to more than $90 a barrel.
Peabody Energy Corp., Consol Energy Inc. and Arch Coal Inc., the three biggest U.S. coal companies, forecast the largest increase in exports in 20 years, degrading the call for a moratorium on coal plants by former U.S. vice-president and this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore. Coal use worldwide has grown 27 per cent since 2002, three times faster than crude, said BP PLC. U.S. East Coast coal has risen 71 per cent, while oil tripled on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
"Coal is by far the cheapest fuel because there's no price on how much damage it causes," said John Holdren, a Harvard University professor of environmental science and director of the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Mass. "Unless you get policies to put a price on carbon dioxide and other emissions, no other plants can compete."
U.S. coal prices are equal to $1.98 for each million British thermal units of energy, compared with $12.51 for fuel oil and $6.91 for natural gas, data compiled by Bloomberg show. A million British thermal units is the equivalent of eight U.S. gallons (30.3 litres) of gasoline.
"There is a huge advantage with coal, and this will continue indefinitely," said Gianfilippo Mancini, the head of fuel purchasing for Enel SpA, Italy's largest power company, which is spending 4-billion ($5.8-billion U.S.) to convert oil-fed plants to run on coal.
Mr. Gore, 59, said five months ago the U.S. should adopt a "complete moratorium" on new coal-fed power plants unless all of the carbon dioxide from them can be buried underground. Government efforts to subsidize coal as an alternative to oil would be a "serious mistake," he said in a June 1 interview on Conversations with Judy Woodruff on Bloomberg Television.
U.S. coal exports to Europe for the first nine months of this year were 11.4 million tons, up 15 per cent from the same period in 2006, according to the U.S. Energy Department. Coal generates 41 per cent of the world's man-made carbon dioxide emissions, blamed for the warming of the Earth's climate, Gulf of Mexico hurricanes and rising sea levels.
The increased demand for coal boosted Peabody, Arch and Consol 36 per cent from Aug. 3 to Nov. 2 in New York trading, according to Bloomberg's U.S. coal index. Among Wall Street analysts, 76 per cent recommend buying shares of Peabody and 62 per cent recommend Consol, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
More than 1,000 coal-fed power plants will be built in the next five years, mostly in China and India, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. China, the world's biggest coal producer, became a net importer for the first time this year, taking supplies from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa and reducing the amount available for Europe.
"If those 1,000 plants get built without any controls on carbon emissions, we will careen into unmanageable changes in our climate," the 63-year-old Prof. Holdren said in an interview. "We need to motivate carbon capture and storage through policy. We will still be using coal, but in much smarter ways. It doesn't have to be an economy buster."
Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t we (the USA) have enough coal to last until the end of time...and beyond?
Sitting at a desk won't solve anything. Policy is horsefeathers.
Why are we giving it away to them? Let’s slap a “carbon export tax” on it :-)
We’ll LITERALLY be carrying Coals to Newcastle!.............
But AlGore, think of the millions selling carbon offsets you’ll make!!!!
Silly Brit, we can’t mine coal in America. It’s forbidden.
This will cause the coal price to begin tracking the price of oil. Bye Al!
I assume that is the market price. What is with the “slap a tax on it”? Taxes never solve anything.
Yes, it can work in our cars:
We have the largest known reserves of coal. Much of it does have a high sulfur content (and coincidentally, that’s the stuff with the highest energy yield).
I wonder where the economic break-even is for hydrogenation (like the Germans used) compared with the price of barrel of oil.
But hey, we got it. Let’s use it. Screw Gore. When he gives up his private jet and walks to work (which would be good for his gut) I’ll walk to work too. Hypocrite.
That does it, at the equivalent of $0.25/gallon I'm converting my car to coal. If you call "shotgun" you better bring a shovel.
More seriously, I wouldn't be surprised that electric cars are now cheaper to run than gasoline, even with all the inefficiencies of making and transmitting electricity.
Didn’t Clintoon make a national park or reserve of some kind out of a chunk of Utah or Nevada that was/is a huge coal deposit?? And it was the kind of coal that is in Indonesia, and he did it to help a campaign contributor??
“...Gulf of Mexico hurricanes and rising sea levels.”
Notice how cleverly the author explains away the ridiculously over-estimated Atlantic hurricane season that’s about to end.
Just watch as the GW freaks dramatize the two CAT 5 hurricanes that hit almost unpopulated parts of Mexico and S.A. this year to where they support the climate change models in a smooth dovetail.
At near $100 a barrel, I’d suspect that many alternatives to oil will jump out of the weeds soon - I hope. Coal is a good one. We should be making diesel fuel and burning it in the new clean diesel engines.
Makes a lot more sense than making fuel out of food.
Why yes, we have infinite coal.
I saw that on Modern Marvels on THC. An awesome piece of machinery. This is the “disassembled” version when in transit. It has a few more attachments once it is at work.
45,500 tons; equivalent to an Iowa class battleship.
You're talking about the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah which was shut down to financially aid the Raidy Family.
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