Climate Change and International Trade

The Wall Street Journal today ran a top-fold, front page news item about how China’s insatiable demand for energy has stimulated a boon in the international trade of coal. This is more evidence that globalization makes a mockery of the best laid plans to fight climate change. So while Congress deliberates, and enviros agitate, big, bad King Coal is making money hand-over-fist selling coal to a growing China.

It reminds me of the California Air Resources Board’s attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by regulating heavy, diesel-powered construction equipment. Overnight, robust trade in heavy, diesel-powered construction equipment began between California, and Mexico, Central and South America.

Let’s not kid ourselves: Someone will want to turn the planet’s minerals into energy until every last bit of coal and oil is gone.