Wholesale Coal Suppliers & Their Supporters
Coal. It’s messy, flammable, and dished out by Santa when kids are naughty. But just where does Old St. Nick get all that coal? Chances are he hauled in it from one of the five top coal exporting nations in the world: Australia, Indonesia, Russia, the United States and South Africa. Together, they produce over 80% of the world’s entire coal supply.
Each year, sales from these countries alone bring in about $70 billion in revenue, making it a sizeable contributor to some economies. And while technology has advanced well beyond coal’s capacity, many governments still protect their old coal plants from being decommissioned. Some are even assigning more money to the construction of new ones!
Of course, it’s no secret that coal-fired power plants are responsible for much of the world’s greenhouse gas problem. Every climate conference of late is concerned with how to transition away from fossil fuels, so why is it still such a big deal?
Who’s Buying It All?
Mining for coal would be pointless without a buyer. Did you notice any geographical patterns in that list of top coal exporters? They’re all pretty close to Asia. Coincidentally, the three most coal-hungry nations are China, Japan and India — a combined population of nearly 3 billion.
While Chinese president Xi Jinping declared that the country wouldn’t build any new coal plants, they don’t seem to be switching to renewable energy sources any time soon. Their target for net-zero emissions is set for 2060, which is just too far off to have any significant impact. Who knows though? Maybe things will change with time.
Out with the Old
Coal changed everything at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, but it wasn’t long before more efficient forms of energy earned more dominance. The problem is though, in that time, countries like Australia came to rely on coal mining. Today, coal makes up for about 4% of their GDP, meaning that a dramatic shift away from it could have negative consequences.
In one of our earlier blogs, we mentioned how some countries were going directly to the UN’s climate plan document to suggest changes to its claims and language. It remains to be seen whether the countries profiting off pollution will finally start cleaning up their mess and making the world a safer place to live for the rest of us.