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How much coal does the U.S. export?

The EIA article In 2018, U.S. coal exports were the highest in five years (3/27/19) summarizes coal exports.

While U.S. coal consumption has generally declined since its 2008 peak, EIA expects that U.S. coal exports reached 116 million short tons (MMst) in 2018, the highest level in five years, based on foreign trade data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. Exports of coal from the United States have increased since 2016 as international prices have made it more economic for U.S. producers to sell coal overseas.

While coal production in the U.S. has been on the  decline (2014: 1,000,048,758 short tons;  2015: 896,940,563;  2016: 728,364,498;  2017:774,609,357 ) along with consumption, exports have been increasing. This raises philosophical questions.  U.S. coal CO2  emissions have gone down due to burning less coal, but should U.S.  CO2 emissions include U.S. coal burned in other countries?  If a country removes fossil fuels from the ground, how complicit are they in the CO2 emissions of those fuels even if they aren’t the ones burning it?

The EIA article includes links to the data such as the Annual Coal Report page.

About Thomas J. Pfaff

Thomas J. Pfaff is a Professor of Mathematics at Ithaca College. He created this website because he believes that sustainability, ranging from climate change to social justice, should be included in all courses whenever possible.

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