Coal is predicted to rival oil next 5 years. CO2 levels to rise and a billion more vehicles by 2050

“In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many to switch from dirtier-burning coal.” (Fox News, August 17, 2012)

Coal will compete with oil over the next ten years and the co12 levels will climb beyond the danger level.
Coal will compete with oil over the next ten years and the co12 levels will climb beyond the danger level.

That is true for the U.S. but greenhouse gases have increased globally. And the shale gas and oil that is replacing coal in the U.S. is also adding more CO2  to the atmosphere, just not as much as coal. “And drilling has its own environmental consequences, which are not yet fully understood.”

Meanwhile Europe, China and India are turning to more coal for their needs:

“Coal and energy use are still growing rapidly in other countries, particularly in China, and CO2 levels are rising, not falling. Moreover, changes in the marketplace-a boom in the economy, a fall in coal prices, a rise in natural gas-could stall or even reverse the shift. For example, U.S. emissions fell in 2008 and 2009 before falling again last year.”

Jason Hayes of the American Coal Council:

“Coal is going to be here for a long time. Our export markets are growing. Demand is going up around the world, Even if we decide to use it, everybody else wants it…and the industry will meet the challenge.” (from the EPA regulations).

Coal is abundant and cheap. And that is why demand from China, India and  a number of European countries “will drive world coal use in the coming five years, with India on course to overtake the US as the world’s second biggest consumer.”

It’s the total amount of CO2 that’s being put into the air and water that counts. A report from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester says that although the US is burning less coal, it is now “exporting (coal) to the UK, Europe, and Asia. According to its calculations, more than half of the emissions avoided in the US may have been exported as coal.”

China is running out of easy to extract coal:

“The best seams have been mined. Fresh reserves are ever further removed from the industrial hubs of the eastern seaboard. Rail freight costs are climbing.”

“For Indonesia and Australia, the world’s top producers, another decade of roaring coal demand is a godsend…For the rest of us, let us hope that man-made global warming is a hoax after all.” (Financial Times, Oct. 29, 2012, Shale gas benefits called into question)

See the true cost of coal here.


In case you still think the world will lower CO2 emissions to keep from going over the danger level, no one has counted on over one billion more people on earth by 2050 and they will be making a huge carbon footprint on climate change. The number  we need to get back to is 350 ppm (parts per million) in order to avoid the 2 degrees Celsius globally. We’ve passed 350 ppm already  and are moving toward 400 ppm. If we can’t go back below the 350 level, the earth is in trouble and we have already seen the possibilities with “melting ice caps [and] rapidly spreading drought“.

Traffic jam in New Delhi, India. NOMAD.
Traffic jam in New Delhi, India. NOMAD.

In just 23 years (2035) “the number of vehicles on the road will double to 1.7 billion.” TheInternational Energy Agency says that most of the global growth in autos and trucks will be in China and that’s the reason American car makers are flooding to that nation to open factories and dealerships. Two years ago Buick had over 400 dealerships in China and climbing. That nation is now the “number one auto market in the world”.

India is also joining the rush for vehicles. It will be “going from 14 million cars today to an estimated 160 million cars 23 years from now”.

The big question is what will happen to the effort to cut back on  global CO2 emissions? With the current trend of failing to lower CO2 levels and no co-operation among nations, there is no expectation of making any headway in cleaning up the environment with  a doubling of vehicles. Gasoline prices will go up and so will the level of pollution globally.

In 2011 the OECD (Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development countries) International Transport Forum ‘”forecast that the number of cars worldwide would reach 2.5 billion by 2050″. That’s why the date  2050  is important. By then the die would have been cast and failure to make the necessary changes in our behavior would be evident for all to see and experience.

At “a seminar from Daniel Sperling at UC Davis’ Institute of Transportation, (it was announced that) a vehicle population of 2 billion would require the world to produce at least 120 million barrels of oil per day, up from 87 million today.”

Tar sands oil production pollutes the ground, rivers, and atmosphere.
Tar sands oil production pollutes the ground, rivers, and atmosphere.

That means tar sands and other sources of oil would send the levels of CO2  well beyond the danger point. At the International Transport Forum” representatives from China and India pointed out that their populations are currently in the process of shedding their bicycles in favour of more sophisticated transportation.”

See how this will drive the amount of CO2 well beyond the ability “to achieve the internationally-agreed target of below two degrees C of global warming to avoid very dangerous levels of global warming.” It would appear, however, that no one in charge is concerned about the tragic end to humanity and the many species that will perish, leaving behind an ugly, trashed planet earth.

I would like to urge all citizens to call on our leaders and demand that they do something to change the road we’re on but the facts are that the corporate world will have its way and drive the earth to its destiny as these CEOs grab for the last trillion dollar payoff.

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