Surprise Side Effect Of Shale Gas Boom: Coal Boom Overseas

The U.S. is achieving many of the energy goals that it has failed to achieve through policy thanks to cheap natural gas from hydraulic fracturing of shale. Those achievements now include—according to an account on Forbes from Energy Report—70 percent of the CO2-emission reductions the U.S. would have committed to under the Kyoto Protocol, had the U.S. ever signed that document.
But the side effects of fracking look less rosy from the global perspective.
America is shuttering coal plants but not coal mines, and coal unwanted at home is finding its place overseas.
Tomorrow the International Energy Agency will announce that Europe has shifted from clean natural gas to dirtier coal as U.S. coal, displaced at home by shale gas, floods the European energy market.
"Low gas prices associated with the shale gas revolution caused a marked decrease in coal use in the United States, the world’s second-largest consumer. This led US thermal coal producers to seek other markets, which resulted in an oversupply of coal in Europe and a significant gas-to-coal switch," according to IEA.
IEA's The Mid-Term Coal Report will also forecast increased use of coal in China, now the world's largest coal importer, and it will project even greater demand for coal in India.
"In the report’s Base Case Scenario, China accounts for over half of global consumption from 2014, and India surpasses the United States as the world’s second-largest consumer of coal in 2017."
In sum, shale gas may be lowering carbon emissions in the United States, but it's fueling a coal boom overseas that ensures coal's future, according to the IEA, as "a growing source of primary energy worldwide."

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