China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So, we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it. India can double their coal production.Trump seems worried that China will be stealing our coal jobs by exporting their coal to us. There are several problems with these claims. Brad Plumer notes:
Over the weekend, the Chinese government ordered 13 provinces to cancel 104 coal-fired projects in development, amounting to a whopping 120 gigawatts of capacity in all. To put that in perspective, the United States has about 305 gigawatts of coal capacity total. The projects that China just ordered halted are equal in size to one-third of the US coal fleet.China produces a lot of coal because they consume a lot of coal. Their consumption of coal peaked in 2014 but has been falling since then:
Coal consumption fell by 4.7 percent year-on-year in 2016, and the share of coal in the country's energy mix slipped to 62.0 percent, down 2.0 percent year-on-year, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a report. Overall coal production also fell, dropping 9.0 percent to 3.41 billion tonnes in 2016. The data suggests that "coal consumption probably peaked around 2014," according to a statement from environmental group China Dialogue.China actually imports coal but even those imports may be declining. The U.S. is a net exporter of coal as reported by Census. While we import about $3 billion per year of coal, coal exports soared to over $7 billion in 2012. These exports fell to just over $4 billion in 2016 but this decline was not due to China but rather the competition from natural gas. Since Trump is big on bilateral trade balances maybe he should note that we are a net exporter of coal to China. Of course if China decides to consume less coal over time, we will export less coal to them even as they cut back on their own production.