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'War on Coal': Exports Doubled During Obama's First Term

9:29 AM, Jun 25, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
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While Daniel P. Schrag, White House climate adviser, tells the New York Times that "a war on coal is exactly what's needed," so far the Obama administration has been a boon for U.S. coal exports.  Last week, the Department of Energy reported that coal exports have more than doubled during President Obama's tenure, and exports to Asia went from 2 percent of the total to 25 percent from 2007-2012:

 While US exports still make up on a tiny sliver of Asia's coal imports (less than 4 percent), that is up from almost nothing in 2007, and if anything, the trend has accelerated in 2013, as the report notes:

Growing coal exports to Asia contributed to the all-time monthly record for total U.S. coal exports in March, accounting for more than half of the total growth over March 2012 exports...

...exports to China of U.S. metallurgical coal during the first quarter of 2013 were more than double their 2012 level...

The report concludes that several factors including demand, U.S. port infrastructure, and the cost of U.S. coal will impact the future growth of U.S. coal exports:

Despite recent growth, U.S. coal exports remain a relatively small source of supply to the Asian coal markets. It faces strong competition from other suppliers to the region, especially Indonesia, Australia, South Africa... Canada, and Russia... Future growth of U.S. coal exports to Asia will depend upon the pace of Asian coal demand growth; expansion of U.S. port infrastructure, especially on the West Coast; coal pricing in Asia; and the cost of U.S. coal landed in Asia compared to that offered by other major coal exporters.

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