The Chinese Coal Monster - a comment from Jean Laherrere

A few days after my post on The Chinese Coal Monster was published I received an email from Jean Laherrere with the following charts and some comments:

One of the puzzles addressed in the original post was the fact that BP data showed Chinese production and consumption to be broadly in balance making it difficult to explain reports of surging coal imports.

Jean's main point is that EIA data provides a different picture to that provided by BP and that the BP data are likely wrong.

It is very important to know that China is importing much more than in the past. In the above graph, with EIA data, it is a cliff, while BP data show a plateau. JL

The EIA and China year book figures show China plunging from net exporter (positive numbers) to net importer (negative numbers) of coal.

Jean points to BP figures as follows: production 3050 Metric Tonnes (Mt), consumption 3020 Mt, export balance 30 Mt. But using EIA figures: production 3539 Mt, consumption 3649 Mt, import balance 110 Mt. (note EIA report short tons converted to metric tonnes here).

The EIA data are similar to figures quoted in the National Bureau of Statistics of China and are therefore more likely to be correct than the BP figures that are based on data from The World Energy Council. The 500 Mt per annum difference between the two data sources is in itself worrying. The fact that one data source (EIA) shows net coal imports whilst BP data show Chinese production and consumption in balance is further cause for concern.

Jean also sent this chart from Reuters showing the gradual decline of Chinese coal exports and the ramping up of imports in 2009.

The shift from China being net coal exporter (2005) to net importer (2009) may have profound impact upon global coal trade. A continuation of the trend towards growing coal imports may create a new spike in global energy prices as China competes for supplies.

Oh yes, no doubt that China is a significant net importer from now on. However, I'm not sure they will ever import as much as last year again, that was probably a one off confluence of events. I've heard people in the freight industry say it was as high as 400m Mtns, but they must have been counting coal shipped between Chinese ports I think. Still, an unbelievable feat of logistics.

The really big news in coal and source of massive demand growth is India. They are already taking a big share of RBCT exports (South Africa), once the bedrock of European imports, and their consumption growth has way further to go and Indian coal reserves are much poorer in quality and quantity than Chinese.

Most of this extra coal will come from Indonesia, but some will also come from displacing European imports which will in turn increase Europe's dependence on gas.

"Chinese coal monster" is apt.

We Americans aren't slouches in the coal-burning department, but the Chinese will burn
3x more than we will this year.

To visualize the scale of their coal burning (and mining!), think of a train 1,000 miles long, composed of 100,000 hopper cars heaped with coal.

That's how much they are burning.

Each day.


Don't forget that one of the primary reasons China uses so much coal is to manufacture disposable and largely unneeded products that American consumers can't seem to stop buying.



One does wonder how much coal generation they could turn off by simply shipping nothing to Walmart in the US. Perhaps they
are using some of that coal generated electricity to make PV?

5GW/year of panels from one company is starting to get measurable, add wind generation, Grid connection, and subtract Walmart, and you might be able to remove every coal plant built before 1990. When you look at the chinese apartment building roofs and see all the water being heated with panels and tubes (low hanging fruit), one does think this is a place with a plan.

I'm not sure what the European plan is to deal with its brownouts and such.

But for the US, we rather lend 5.3B to the states to extend social welfare benefits, then actually build something that would employ and export.

To visualize the scale of their coal burning (and mining!), think of a train 1,000 miles long, composed of 100,000 hopper cars heaped with coal.

That's how much they are burning.

Each day.

A hundred thousand hopper cars of coal a day? Is it really that much? If so, that is phenomenally bad for any kind of effort to stem the tide of AGW.

Last I'd heard, the world burned through 200 million barrels of fossil fuels (oil, NG & coal) a day. I wonder if that number has risen since then.

that is a staggering statistic. A vivid visual any person can relate to.
can you source it?
i would like to use it to wake up people who are naive about the potential for humans to affect global climate.

Could not believe this. Did the maths. Over in Queensland the wagons carry ~85MT each, and are ~17metres long.
Spot on dude!

The charts are difficult to relate to the text.
The text speaks of about 3 billion tons/yr usage, the export import data shows fluctuations within the 100mm tons/yr range, basically a rounding error either way.
The issue is presumably that China will need to grow its coal supply to maintain its economic growth and at 10%/yr growth, China will need to import 300mm tons/yr next year, 600mm tons/yr the year after, unless their domestic production can be increased to keep pace.
It certainly suggests that the current effort to curb CO2 emissions via the US Cap and Trade bill would be unlikely to do much .

The point is that Chinese coal consumption is huge - about 50% of all coal produced on Earth each year. In the past, China has produced a little more coal than it consumed but now it seems to be struggling to keep production ahead of consumption and looks set to become a permanent importer. China is such a huge consumer it could "swamp" the global import market. The charts simply shows the balance between production and consumption.

You are right that any attempts to curtail CO2 emissions in the OECD are utterly futile for so long as China (and to lesser extent India) charges ahead. China can also point to radical birth control and claim they have done more to contain population and environmental impact than any other country.

All four of the lines on the first chart are estimates of "net exports" (that is, exports minus imports). The amounts are fairly different though, even though they should be pretty close to the same, and the pattern should be similar.

I would expect the amount of net exports to peak and decline, similar to the line shown by the blue EIA (exports- imports) graph. The fact that this line follows a reasonable pattern suggests to me that it may be closer to the real numbers than the others (although with revisions to the numbers, the shape may change).

In the last year or two, all except the BP lines have dropped below zero. When net exports drop below zero, then China is a net coal importer. In my opinion, that is what is what the post is about--China changing from being a new coal exporter to a net coal importer. China is a huge user of coal, so a change from being a net exporter to a net importer is very significant.

China is due to peak in coal production in the next decade but if they are on their way to being net importers doesnt this suggest they have already peaked?

It suggests their demand is growing faster than their ability to increase production. Infer what you will.

I wonder how much of their consumption is domestic heating/cooking fuel (replacing dung, wood, diesel fuel?)

1.3 billion heating/eating with coal would add up.

The figures also leave out China's massive underground coal fires ...

Sparaxis posted a good chart on Chinese coal consumption in the original thread.


From my travels in China, mostly in the 80's, coal was the primary cooking fuel. I hoping they are now moving to gas for cooking. As for heating, the greatest thing Mao did was to teach the population, "it is good to be cold" and it was. Next to no heating in the houses and local hotels. I suspect this idea has been dropped with younger generation that had not endured the great Leap forward and the Cultural revolution. The polution then, even in country towns was bad. Hopefully the "modern" power plants are burning cleaner, though there are many more of them than before.

Another fuel saving practise they used on the buses was coasting , ie running upto speed and then turning the engine off, until the speed dropped, then kicking the engine back in. Not a practice I would recommend on a modern vehical, on any vehical actually, but it must have been the standing orders of the day.

Steam train engines maybe cute, but put out a lot of smoke. They were still building them in the 80's, not sure when they stopped.

I have only been in the south during the naughties, and Hong Kong has definatly inherited the smog from the mainland.

China is a big place and growing quickly with large amounts of the population is still to become consumers, not sure where it will al end but as I told the fellas I was working with, "not every Chinaman will drive a car, the earth ain't big enough".

"Town gas" (gasified coal) would be a great improvement over coal stoves.  It would not necessarily be more efficient, but sulfur can be scrubbed and the ash and partially-burned volatiles from coal would not be present at the point of use.  A modern oxygen-blown gasifier produces enough waste heat to run its own operations, and the plant could be sized to produce both gas for sale and electric power.

Small, clean gas furnaces would not require lots of make-up air for ventilation and would be compatible with much tighter, better-insulated dwellings.  Total energy needs could go down.


I agree that coal gas instead of burning coal direct would be better, that is if China was just up grading there towns and houses. From what I have seen they are more into clear felling and total rebuild from grass roots. The upside of this action is that they end up with all new infrastructure with natural gas and adequate electricity, while the old parts of town continue with their old ways. I would love to travel inland again to see what changes have worked there way through the countryside. I know the coast has been redeveloped. They are now working on the provinces just in from the coast. I would wager it would not be too hard to find towns and areas not to different from what I what I saw in the eighties once you got off the beaten track, that is of course if you are allowed to go them, but rules are meant to be at least bent if not broken.

Is China thinking long term? They need coal for the foreseeable future and I would expect the cost of imported coal to go up long term. China holds a lot of US and other foreign debt which is looking rather shakey at the moment. So why not import coal now while the money is worth something and coal imports are cheap? Imported coal might be more expensive than domestic, but factoring in potential devaluations of foreign currencies it could well be worth it.

With China importing more and more coal will it mean it may be more profitable for those coal trains out of Powder River to go to west coast ports than to continuing to ship it east? Our electric bills are going to go higher no matter what we do just to keep the coal at home. With the cost of using coal going up then renewables will become more competitive.

China reads SunTzu as well as SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN so expect China to be storing coal to preserve domestic reserves, just as expressed US policy on oil in past decades. Let the other guy use up HIS oil/coal while saving a portion of domestic supply against wartime shipping problems. Surplus capital to extend fuel supply. USA borrows money to use up oil as fast as possible, making return to status as lending not borrowing nation more impossible as time passes. The only way this situation turns around requires voluntary motor fuel cutbacks (good luck with that idea) or Federal Emergency Executive Order for motor fuel rationing. Other lines of commentary are exercises in wishful thinking.

China has extensive subway lines in major cities, including enroute station creature comfort amenities enabling use as bomb shelters, learning from British & Russian WWII experience. So, seeing Chinese buying up coal should not be a surprise; anyone else on the site remember commentary on China putting in extensive tank farms to store oil??? More circumspection at the strategic level on this site would be helpful...

The energy crisis whether a climate and or supply/demand calculus points USA strategic planners to railway upgrade; massive expansion & extension of mains, rebuild of dormant branch lines. The railway matrix is priority one on any sensible list for negotiating the Oil Interregnum. Coal use in China is in large part exacerbated by (correctly noted in other posts today) call on Chinese manufacturing for US consumption.

Other websites touting doomsday scenario commodities investment appeal to smart people -outsmarting themselves because we are ignoring consequences of failing to gird US Transport for motor fuel crisis. Batteries for cars and natural gas for trucks, even if done without a hitch, do not enable level of Societal & Commercial Cohesion more readily obtainable with resolute and orderly replacement of railway footprint in US as seen circa 1920/WWII era. See for US Rail Atlas Maps, or "OFFICIAL GUIDE" of US railways pre 1950 will do as well.

Any discussion of Chinese policy for energy and logistic infrastructure must include in-depth look at unprecedented railway projects underway in China. Moving coal is only part of the picture; Chinese rail projects include mucho passenger capacity, as well as freight connection & handling facilities. TOD postings are 99% ways & means of preserving the USA current lockstep thinking process keyed to motor transport, with an occasional 1% token comment on rail. That should be more like 1/3 or more US Transport project emphasis on generic railway capacity & reach. Maybe others with more impressive credentials like Aleklett & Heinberg & Hirsch can weigh in with railway mode inclusion for Plan B Solution Set.

"The only way this situation turns around requires voluntary motor fuel cutbacks (good luck with that idea) or Federal Emergency Executive Order for motor fuel rationing."

They tried getting people to voluntarily cutback on fuel at the start of WWII in the US. It was a complete failure and rationing had to be introduced.

The comment about rounding errors above is apt. I expect that the China yearbook data is perhaps more 'correct' than the BP data but remember that all of these numbers will get updated when next year's compilations come out.

To get a sense of the main coal consumers and providers for the region and, more importantly, to see what the existing trends are, here are some telling graphs from the Energy Export databrowser.

(Note the difference in scale for each graph.)

China and India are the top two coal consumers in Asia but have been mostly self-sufficient. India has imported a significant percentage of its coal for just the last decade.
Japan and South Korea are no slouches either but must import essentially all of their coal. (Taiwan is next and imports about 40 million tonnes oil equiv. per year according to BP. Germany (surprise!) it the next largest importer after Taiwan.)
The primary Asia-Pacific exporters of coal are Indonesia and Australia. (South Africa is also a major exporter to India.)

It's worth taking a look at the trends in all of the countries that produce or consume coal. Columbia, for example, has ramped from zero production to South African levels of exports in just 25 years. If China and India become major importers will Columbia's production rocket upwards like Indonesia's?

There is no doubt that Asia is, as it always has been, primarily powered by coal. In the last decade coal has become even more important as seen in the graph below for the entire Asia-Pacific region:

Although China is the #1 consumer of coal in the world I think it is perhaps more appropriate to refer to the Asian Coal Monster when referring to net imports. With increasing populations desirous of higher standards of living the demand for energy can only go up. With oil becoming more expensive and renewables still unable to meet demand the only options are natural gas and coal.

It is still unclear to me whether we will see production bottlenecks in the next decade for LNG. But it seems obvious that coal production and consumption have nowhere to go but up barring a huge setback for economies all across Asia. I think the recent Patzek article on peak coal will be proven wrong by the time the decade is out.

Not much chance here for reducing carbon emissions I'm sorry to say.

Best Hopes for Hope!


With a bit of editorial work (I got somewhat lost between the text and the graphics), I think this comment would be an excellent guest post.

This is yet another post making it clear that U.S. attempts to reduce emissions through mandates and subsidies is futile. Our energy policy should have only one goal.

Develop clean safe reliable dispatchable energy sources that are cheaper than burning coal


1 Drill, drill, drill. Each $10 per barrel that oil goes up costs Americans another $80 billion per year. Each 1 cent per kWh that electricity goes up costs Americans another $40 billion per year.

We need fuel to keep our economy going so that we can afford to develop the new technologies that the world needs.

2 Level the playing field so that we are forced to pay the true cost of energy from each source. Eliminate all energy subsidies.

When you take a load of trash to the city landfill you pay a fee per pound of trash. Humans have been using the atmosphere as a free waste dump since we gained control of fire. Atmospheric dumping of hazardous material is producing severe adverse effects on human health and global climate. We should charge an atmospheric dumping fee equal to the best estimate of the cost of damage done by the toxic waste being injected into our atmosphere. Low emission technologies will become more competitive on a level playing field.


Use proven technology to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

1 Accelerate the mainstreaming of emerging technologies including hybrid, battery and fuel cell vehicles.

2 Mass produce floating nuclear power plants to increase our supply of clean emissions free electricity. A company called Offshore Power Systems built a facility to do that in Florida during the seventies, but it was never put into production due to a downturn in the economy that stalled growth and canceled orders.

3 Convert most stationary applications of natural gas to electricity. Use our natural gas supply to displace imported oil. Automakers can make dual fuel vehicles, gasoline / natural gas, quickly and cheaply.


1 Increase R&D for energy by more than a factor of ten to $100 billion per year, 90 cents per day for each of us. Push every technology as hard as possible, build prototypes of everything as it becomes possible and publish the performance data.

Let the marketplace decide which new technology to build on a level playing field.

When someone says R&D most people only hear “Research”. In truth Development is the really expensive part, and the U.S. has done very little of that in recent decades.

Build intermediate scale plants of all promising technologies, advanced nuclear, cellulosic biofuel, algae, solar power, geothermal, coal with full sequestration. For those technologies that are successful in medium scale we should built at least one full scale commercial size plant.

We have yet to build a fully sequestered coal plant after years of talk. We need to try even if the first plant is a failure.

There are dozens of ways to split a uranium atom. What are the odds that a steroidal submarine reactor is the best? There are huge improvements to be made in nuclear power plant design and construction, yet we have not built a new experimental power reactor since 1973.

The road of progress is paved with stones of failure. By spending 90 cents per person per day to push every technology as fast as possible, the best technologies and breakthroughs, whatever they are, will emerge as leaders in the shortest possible time. 95% of that money will probably be wasted on unsuccessful technology, but that is cheap insurance to assure that we get the best solution. Relying on a bunch of gray haired law school graduates in Washington to cherry pick technology is a formula for disaster.

The new technologies will tend to suppress rising energy costs. I believe the savings could surpass the annual R&D cost within 15 – 20 years, and save over $2,000 per year per person within 30 years, not to mention a large improvement in the environment and quality of life with this approach. 100 years from now energy will be cheap, clean and abundant.

A big R&D push will provide the U.S. with new products that are highly desirable all over the world, providing Americans with high paying manufacturing jobs and products to sell overseas to eliminate our trade deficit and strengthen the dollar.

"Drill, drill, drill"

I thought the correct terminology was; Drill, baby, drill ???

I'm unimpressed. No attention to AGW, pop drop, mind control about Veblen goods. Presumption people don't know the difference between starving and being envious.

The post sounds quite authoritative, but considering amount of your frustration, it is not surprising.

It is sad that your website had a total of 235 (235 eh!) visitors according to the counter at the bottom of the page. Total denial and fear of loosing any discussion within first 5 minutes?

There some smart people, but unfortunately not in this continent:
China announced massive nuclear plant building spree. All the coal they are going to burn is not nearly enough.
Saudi Arabia is trying to get US support for building nuclear electric capacity.

Question: What about cooling of all these plants (floating in the sea?)

“Curious”, why the misleading name? Had you actually read my paper you would know that the sun delivers over 20,000,000 watts to the earth for each human, mostly to the oceans of the world. What change will an extra 3 kW make?

to quote "CuriousCanuck"....."It is sad that your website had a total of 235 (235 eh!)

Don't fret Bill, 235 is more than enough, if they are the right 235. Lenin left Europe in a sealed train with only 30, an indication that a small group can have big effects....I will let you be the judge of the nature of the effects.


"We need fuel....keepp our economy going....afford to develop new technologies."

Very well said sir!

Whether this is actually still possible at this late stage of the game is highly debatable, but as others have said before me, failing to try is a SURE way to fail.

A couple of days ago I got into a peeing match with damn near every body on the site trying to get them to be open minded enough to read Lomburg's "The Skeptical Environmentalist".

I most emphatically never asked any body to take the book at face value, but only to read it, and in my first comment I said that I did not agree with most of it;but that it contains much useful data.

THE THOUGHT that I came away with from reading it is the seldom mentioned in public discourse is the one you just brought up:

Only prosperous societies are ABLE and WILLING to pay for the remediation of environmental problems (or to develop new game changing technologies).

Expecting poor countries to voluntarily give up on raising thier standards of living is utterly asinine, too stupid to even merit space to discuss the idea.

But a huge amount of commentary even here on TOD, which is the only site around to my knowledge with a really good open forum and a mostly scientifically savvy audience, consists of just such wishful thinking.

Books should never be read as blueprints, unless the author indicates that that is literally what the contents are-blueprints.

You simply gotta check out what everybody who has done his homework has to say.

The fact that Lomburg is out to lunch in some respects is relevant but no reason to dismiss him out of hand.

Calling him an ignorant corporate lackey does not advance the cause of environmentalism.

Such remarks simply cause someone who may stumble upon this site who has been trained (or indoctrinated) in the same schools of thought/ theory to DISMISS US as the idiots.

There are probably TEN times as many people in this country with college degrees who believe in the economic theory and practice advocated by Lomburg as there are people who see things the way the typical technically trained regular HERE sees things.

When we dismiss Lomburg as an idiot, and that is all they know about the dispute, they dismiss us as idiots too.It's as simple as that.

Preaching to the choir is easy, but it saves no souls.

It has been a long time since I read that book, but that basic argument stuck with me as being well founded.Since I remember little or nothing else about it, I just dismissed the rest as either incorrect or irrevelant-which is for me my normal way of organizing my mental inventory..

The cops say there are always three stories involved in every investigation;his story, her story, and the truth;and when the laughter stops, the next thing said is that both sides are usually partly in the right;and partly in the wrong.

Anyone who reads Lomburg with an open mind will gain a lot of useful insights into big picture reality.

Enuf said, I am going to PRETEND that I have gotten in the last word and go to bed. ;)

as others have said before me, failing to try is a SURE way to fail.

A point that cannot be repeated too often in this wretched hive of doomerism and depression.

Tax energy use and aim to halve per capita enrgy consumption in a decade - converging on EU norm.

Your strategy looks like the ticket. I will add a short wish list to your excellent road map. We need to eliminate direct government subsidies to utilities for all forms of energy, and we need legislation to stop NGOs as well as state and local governments from interfering with projects once safety standards have been approved by appropriate federal government regulatory agencies. R & D must receive strong governmental support as well as education of science and engineering students entering the various energy related fields. NSF funding should be greatly expanded to accomplish these goals. Monies currently spent on energy subsidies should be channeled into NSF support of R & D and energy related education training programs.

Synthetic production of liquid fuel from atmospheric carbon dioxide and hydrogen from water should also be researched. Thermo-chemical splitting of water may be be an efficient process for hydrogen production. The airlines trucking, farming and heavy equipment industries need a long term supply of non-emitting fuel.

So the suggestion of replacing ever-more-scarce oil with coal is probably not a good idea.

And perhaps more significant, the competition for both oil and coal may become quite fierce.

Doesn't look good.

I'm wondering if there may be something to this early peak coal possibility. On the Consol energy conf. call, they stated that overall Central appalacian (all companies) coal production would decline by about 50 million tons between now and 2015.

They were asked if their NAPP production (they are primarilly a NAPP coal producer) would be increased to make up for the decline in the capp region, but they declined to elaborate on that suggestion.

If CAPP coal production is in decline, we could be facing serious coal production problems in the not too distant future. Where is the 250 billion tons of U.S. coal reserves? What is the quality of those reseves? When I was a kid (74 now) we heated the house in queens, N.Y. with coal and I remember my father telling me that we used hard coal (antracite). Well, there's not much of that left. Now, we are into bituminous and sub bituminous coal.

One other anecdotal observation, the top six coal producers (BTU, CNX, ANR, ACI, MEE and PCX) have proven and probable reseves of approximately 26 billion tons. If you add in the next ten you might come up with a total of 33 billion tons. Maybe we do have 250 billion tons of coal, but is it economically mineable? It is likely the quality will be less desirable, the seams narrower, and the costs far greater. Very much like oil, where the cheap and easy oil has been found, so also, I would guess the cheap and easy coal may have been found.

I've stated before that I don't think China will go much higher with its domestic production but that will remain flat going forward.
The real question concerns Chinese coal imports from nearby Siberian and Mongolian deposits(100 billion tons?).

The Russian deposits (a 6 trillion ton resource)are graded differently than US coal so they may be larger as prices rise--- once other fossil fuels become exhausted.

Who other than coal-loving China will use these remote deposits?

The same countries that promised action on climate change are now rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of selling more coal to China. I'd liken it to teaching Sunday School on weekends and turning tricks mid week. I think there should be an export levy of fossil fuels so we all get used to paying more and finding alternatives. Thus thermal coal from Australia current spot price around $100 a tonne should be slapped with a levy of $50. That's 2.5 X $20 per tonne of CO2.

Similar levies could apply to crude oil, oil from tar sands, piped gas and LNG. The importing country eg China could ask for a refund of the levy if they promised to spend it on green tech, but mostly the 50% price shock should make them think about alternatives. Countries like Australia that actively assist coal exports have zero credibility on climate change. They are liars and hypocrites. The good news is that Australia's coal exports to all countries of 260 million tonnes a year can't save China's 3,000 million tonne habit.

In fact I wonder if the conjunction of Global Peak Oil and China Peak Coal could be a turning point for the low carbon transition. It could emerge just in the next few years.

While I agree that China's coal balance is certainly important, my work in the data over the past decade--especially in the relative positions between coal and oil--suggests that China's unique, energy adoption pathway offers the most insights. I would argue that China's impact on the global coal trade has its more notable start back in 2002.

Demand revisions that appeared in the latest release of BP Stat Review (for previous years), in the area of coal, were indeed a bit bigger than in the previous year. Developing world coal consumption was dialed back slightly in the revision(s), and oil consumption was increased a little.

China's demand growth for coal is indeed supersonic, but alot of this a reflection of the fact that China is just a place where the world get's alot of its work done. As for the data, I take the approach that more is better, and I have no reason to privilege one group over the other.


I was in Mongolia a few years back rummaging around uranium prospects and what struck me was the vast coal deposits that lack transport infrastructure to China. Both steaming and coking coal. At least 100 MT could go to China per annum without much fuss.

US coal consumption as a percentage of production was at 85% in 1980 and at 96% in 2008 (EIA). At this long term rate of increase, the US would be a net coal importer, on a tonnage basis, by 2020. The EIA used to calculate net coal exports/imports on a BTU basis, which attempted to take into account differences in BTU's per ton, which of course varies considerably for various grades of coal, but they have changed to tons.

Here is the net coal export chart for the US (EIA). 2008 net coal exports were 4.3% of production.

Here is the EIA's net coal export chart for China). 2008 net coal exports were 0.6% of production.

Once more, I drop by to to remind that the chess game is essentially over.

The U.S. could stop every automobile on its highways and burn them where they stand, and it will have essentially no effect on the growth of Greenhouse Gas production worldwide. And the effect we can have is becoming less of the total with each passing day. The U.S., Japan, and Europe could essentially assasinate their own economies and the the developing world would swallow up the amount of carbon release improvements in the next decade. Have you ever seen a child playing chess? They enjoy the game, so even after checkmate they will want to keeping playing the same game..."can we just keep moving?" It is an informative lesson...but we should be grown ups. The game is done, checkmate. Time to start a new argument, a new game, a new paradigm.


No idea if this has been posted anywhere on TOD before, apologies if it's old news:

A global coal production forecast with multi-Hubbert cycle analysis by Tadeusz W. Patzek and Gregory D. Croft

The global peak of coal production from existing coalfields is predicted to occur close to the year 2011. The peak coal production rate is 160 EJ/y, and the peak carbon emissions from coal burning are 4.0 Gt C (15 Gt CO_2 ) per year. After 2011, the production rates of coal and CO_2 decline, reaching 1990 levels by the year 2037, and reaching 50% of the peak value in the year 2047. It is unlikely that future mines will reverse the trend predicted in this BAU scenario.