US carbon emissions, shale gas and Europe

US shale gas production

Clarence drops in

Under our post about US carbon dioxide emissions flattening out, Clarence gave a pithy analysis. I promote it and add links to verify the points he makes because they’re so devastating to the warmist cause. Clarence’s comments indented and bold.

The Forbes article deals only with USA emissions. This is no surprise, as they have been declining quite quickly over the past decade – since the advent of shale gas. It is ironic that US emission reduction has handily exceeded that of Europe throughout the entire Kyoto Commitment Period.

The graph above shows the startling increase in shale gas output over the last few years. People are talking about a miraculous transformation of the energy industry and thus the global balance of power. Will it begin to starve militant Muslims of oil funds and thereby, perhaps, make the Western world a little safer? Will the US feel less inclined to engage in conflicts in the Middle East to safeguard their industry?

Sorry, but I can’t verify the relative US/Europe emissions reductions.

But China will continue to open a new coal-fired power plant each week, and India is ramping up to a similar level.

This is highly likely to be true, as even Germany seems to manage about one every six weeks. From a report by the World Resources Institute:


Research conducted for this paper identified 455 proposed new coal-fired power plants in India, with a total installed capacity of 519,396 MW.

Since there’s no telling when they’ll be installed or how many won’t proceed, it’s impossible to confirm the rate. There are numerous non-trivial impediments to these projects on various grounds, including “coal availability, land and water resource availability and public resistance. Concerns about land seizures, air and groundwater pollution, the effect of thermal discharges on fisheries and the displacement of communities have fuelled local opposition to coal-fired plants.”


As of July 2012, China had proposed adding 363 coal-fired plants with a combined capacity exceeding 557,938 MW.

As with India, I’ve found no indication of when these plants will be commissioned, and therefore cannot verify the (well-known) one-per-week claim. Much depends on the progress of the individual applications. One report claims many coal projects in China are being delayed by doubts over the economic performance of coal generators and by growing public concern over their environmental impacts.

Although there’s no reason to doubt the report, its claims that coal-fired projects could be delayed sound like wishful thinking. China needs energy in large quantities right now to alleviate widespread poverty. The leadership is content to take reasonable steps to look after the environment, but can’t afford to put those concerns before the people’s welfare.

As for the profitability of coal plants — it’s hard to imagine that, for such essential projects, anything short of disastrous losses would hold sway with a communist regime.

Clarence ends with an expression of optimism that CO2 emissions will continue and takes a final swipe at the warmists, reminding them that carbon dioxide does good work in the real world and is not the unmitigated disaster they pretend.

There should be plenty of growth in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 over the next 40 years and that will ensure increases in crop yield to feed the additional 3 billion population.

The increase in atmospheric CO2 levels measured at Mauna Loa since 1959 stands at 24%. For example, since 1950, production of wheat and soy beans has more than doubled and of maize and rice has about tripled.

Global food production index PER CAPITA from 1961 to 2005 varies somewhat but increases from about 78 to about 105 — a rise of about 35%. Among the contributions to this amazing increase in agricultural productivity are high-yield varieties, more effective herbicides and insecticides, better land management, better fertilizers — and more carbon dioxide.

This was achieved during a time of unprecedented population increase, when prestigious bodies everywhere were predicting doom by starvation for millions of people. Yet by now, fewer people are in conditions of starvation than ever were.

We are intelligent and inventive and have underestimated the beneficial effects of carbon dioxide.

Visits: 509

5 Thoughts on “US carbon emissions, shale gas and Europe

  1. Robin Pittwood on 30/12/2012 at 10:26 pm said:

    And to provide an idea of just how big those coal fired stations are in relation to New Zealand’s electricity supply:
    NZ consumes around 39,000 GWh per year, which results in an average demand of around 4,452MW.
    The 363 stations proposed for China with a total of 557,938MW have an average capacity of 1,537MW each, and likewise for India, of 1,142MW each. In other words, just three or four Chinese or Indian machines respectively, would meet NZ’s average annual demand.

  2. Over at WUWT, Steve Mosher blathers on about CO2 levels rising due to fossil fuel burning and “future generations will pay the price. To which, Willis E makes several astute rebuttals. Worth reading the two posts.

  3. Andy on 07/01/2013 at 7:20 am said:

    The Economist claims that Europe is having a Golden Age of coal

    The shale gas revolution in the US is pushing down the price of coal, therefore Europe is importing it for its new coal fired power stations, e.g 24 new ones in Germany.

    I think therefore that EU emissions are probably on the increase.

  4. Andy on 07/01/2013 at 7:24 am said:

    David Rose in the Mail gives the UK climate policy a bad score card, and welcomes us to the counter industrial revolution

    He mentions Thorium and Fusion and wonders why they don’t get funded whilst parasites like Yeo and Deben push for their own self interests.

  5. Doug Proctor on 08/01/2013 at 4:41 pm said:

    Let’s pause at the graph a moment or two. Consider what you have heard about the US becoming self-sufficient, a world-level exporter of LNG etc.

    Since 2011 the various basins in the US are essentially stagnant. Now some of this is recession-based, but a large part of this is 1) the core of the basins has been determined/put under production and 1) current gas prices do not justify more drilling

    The “game changer” is limited and expensive.

    Do not lose track of the above statement, especially when someone is suggesting you buy shares in shale gas development schemes. Short-term, limited opportunity to make hay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation