Over the past six years, American energy companies have sent more coal than ever before to other parts of the world, in some cases to places with more lax environmental standards. The consequence: This global shell game makes the U.S. appear to be making more progress than it is on global warming. That's because it shifts some pollution — and the burden for cleaning it up — onto other countries' balance sheets. "Energy exports bit by bit are chipping away at gains we are making on carbon dioxide domestically," said Shakeb Afsah, an economist who runs an energy consulting firm in Bethesda, Maryland. The Obama administration has resisted calls from governors in Washington and Oregon to evaluate and disclose such global fallout, saying that if the U.S. didn't supply the coal, another country would. White House officials say U.S. coal has a negligible global footprint and reducing coal's use worldwide is the best way to ease global warming. The U.S. in 2012 accounted for 9 percent of worldwide coal exports, according to the latest data available.
-- Dina Cappiello, The Associated Press
First published July 28 2014, 10:09 AM