Shortage of unicorn flatulence in Europe.
As France, Germany and Italy chastised President Trump for rejecting the Paris climate accord in June and mocked the U.S. for turning its back on the environment, their nations were busy importing record amounts of American coal.
The U.S., federal data show, is seeing something of a coal renaissance, but the boom — partly the result of Mr. Trump’s aggressive policies to roll back Obama-era regulations on the fuel — largely has benefited foreign markets. Some of the biggest buyers are also the biggest critics of the Trump administration’s climate policy, including China and leading European nations that now claim to be the world’s leaders on fighting global warming.
The U.S. last year produced 773 million short tons of coal, 45 million more than 2016. That was the largest year-to-year increase in nearly two decades, government numbers show.
But that didn’t equal increased use at home, with more coal than ever heading overseas.
“Even though U.S. coal consumption decreased, higher worldwide demand for U.S. coal led to greater coal production,” the federal Energy Information Administration said in a recent report.[…]
Some of the most fertile markets in Europe are nations with leaders that have been the most outspoken in bashing Mr. Trump for pulling out of the global Paris climate pact, an Obama-era agreement that the current administration says unfairly punished the U.S. while letting major polluters such as China off the hook.
Chief among the critics has been French President Emmanuel Macron. Among other instances, Mr. Macron in December mocked Mr. Trump by launching the “Make Our Planet Great Again Awards,” a spin on the president’s famous campaign slogan. He gave grants to U.S. scientists to continue their research in France and said his country was leading the way in clean energy and carbon emissions reductions.
“France and Europe will be the place where we will decide how to make our planet great again,” he said at a ceremony announcing the awards.
At the same time, his country was in the midst of a huge uptick in American coal imports.
Through September 2017, France imported 1.5 million short tons of American coal — double the amount in 2016.
Mr. Macron hasn’t been alone in his criticism of Mr. Trump or the seeming hypocrisy when it comes to coal, which most scientists believe is one of the biggest man-made contributors to climate change. Last summer, France, Germany and Italy released a joint statement saying the U.S. would never be welcomed back into the Paris climate accord, effectively trying to isolate the Trump administration on the world stage.