A new report released by Greenpeace USA, Leasing Coal, Fueling Climate Change, reveals that the United States’ federal coal leasing program promotes more coal mining and exports, and has lead to 3.9 billion metric tons of carbon pollution since the beginning of the Obama administration and is equivalent to the 3.7 billion tons of carbon that was emitted in the entire European Union in 2012. The report questions the ability to reconcile the coal leasing and export program with the Obama Climate Action Plan.
According to the report:
Without major changes, the federal coal leasing program will continue to undermine federal, state, and international efforts to reduce carbon pollution; the BLM Wyoming office plans to lease over 10 billion tons of coal in the coming years, dwarfing the emissions reductions expected from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
The report comes to several startling conclusions including:
The carbon pollution from publicly owned coal leased during the Obama administration will cause damages estimated at between $52 billion and $530 billion, using the federal government’s social cost of carbon estimates.In contrast, the total amount of revenue generated from those coal leases sales was $2.3 billion.
A ton of publicly owned coal leased during the Obama administration will, on average, cause damages estimated at between $22 and $237, using the federal government’s social cost of carbon estimates – yet the average price per ton for those coal leases was only $1.03.
A July 28, 2014 post in DESMOG Blog by Steve Horn Greenpeace Report: Obama Administration Exporting Climate Change by Exporting Coal says that the policies represented by the coal development and exports
serve as major endorsements of continued coal production and export to overseas markets
the report tackles the dark underbelly of a rule that only polices coal downstream at the power plant level and largely ignores the upstream and global impacts of coal production at-large.
The DESMOG article is full of jaw dropping statistics gleaned from the Greenpeace USA report and is an important read.
Other recent stories linked in the DESMOG report echo this theme. Read them here:
AP-July 28, 2014 Not in my backyard: US sending dirty coal abroad by Dina Cappiello
Rolling Stone-February 3, 2014 How the US Exports Global Warming by Tim Dickinson
Maclean’s June 10, 2014 America’s dirty secret by Luiza Ch. Savage