Friday, September 28, 2012

Coal's Black Swan

Clark Williams-Derry at Slightline has a revealing chart on US coal consumption for electricity production.

He writes:
"...In all my years of examining economic and environmental trends, I’ve never seen anything like this. Gasoline consumption might shift by a few percentage points per year at most. Coal consumption trends had been very much of that ilk: consumption would shift slowly, but with a long-term trend towards steady growth. "So a drop of this magnitude is a proverbial “black swan“—an unforeseeable event with dramatic, world-changing consequences."
As he notes, it's a major reason for the 20-year low in US CO2 emissions, and why the coal companies want to export through the Pacific Northwest.

1 comment:

Brian said...

It will be interesting to see if such a dramatic decline leaves a signal in hospitalizations for asthma. I did a little looking around and it seems 2011-2012 data for hospitalizations isn't available yet (but maybe I looked in the wrong spots).