US, Clean up Domestic Energy Policies that Increase Pollution in Other Countries

  • by: Susan V
  • target: Obama Administration

The United States is reducing its CO2 emissions by decreasing domestic use of coal. But how does this benefit the planet if the US sends its dirty coal overseas to pollute other countries?

Because some of the countries getting the coal have less restrictive emission controls, the US is actually contributing to global warming even though it’s weaning itself off of the dirty fuels that promote it. In the last six years, the US has exported more coal than ever, more than doubling, for example, what it sends to Germany. As a result Germany’s CO2 emissions have increased by 1.2%.

Many believe it’s disingenuous for the Obama administration to take credit for weaning the US off of the dirty fuels that contribute to global warming, when it’s actually just shifting the pollution and the costs of cleaning it up to other countries. Continuing to mine and transport coal is hurting Americans in other ways as well.

Many experts believe coal is best left buried in the ground, and Native tribes in Washington state would agree as they fight the building of coal export terminals that threaten the environment and their way of life.

Tell the Obama administration to stop  “green-washing” its policies that promote pollution elsewhere!

We, the undersigned, agree that it’s disingenuous for the US to take credit for decreasing global warming while it’s exporting its polluting coal to other countries.

Among the harshest critics of US policy are German environmentalists concerned about  how the recent boom in coal-fired power is hindering Germany’s ability to meet the climate-protection goals it shares with other European countries. A spokesman for one group, BUND, expressed his frustration with US policy to Huffington Post, noting that "Obama pretties up his own climate balance, but it doesn't help the global climate at all if Obama's carbon dioxide is coming out of chimneys in Germany."

HP also points out that even though America may benefit from the reduced emissions, it still has to deal with the effects of greenhouse gases it contributes to elsewhere. For example, Norfolk, Virginia, which sends out more coal than any other place in the US, “is already experiencing one of the country's fastest rates of sea level rise.”

Furthermore transporting coal via railways to seacoast locations for export threatens the quality of life for the Lummi and Yakama Nations and the salmon they rely upon as well as all those who live along the transport route. Exporting coal is responsible for polluting America in other ways that cancel out the benefit of lower CO2 emissions from not burning the coal domestically.

Obviously, even though the US can export its pollution, it cannot export the side effects of dealing with dirty coal domestically or the end effects of polluting other countries with it.

We request that the US clean up its domestic energy policies, which, in effect, do little if anything to alleviate global or domestic pollution.

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