Climate expert Steve Davis tallies the amount of greenhouse gas emitted as coal makes its way from Wyoming to China. Step 1: The fuel burned in mining operations amounts to 30-40 kg of CO2 emissions per ton of coal mined.
Step 2: train transport. Trains are fairly efficient, so the 1,100 mile trip from Wyoming to a Pacific port will emit 50-60 kilograms of CO2 per ton of coal transported.
Step 3: shipping the coal. As with trains, shipping coal across the ocean doesn't account for a big share of the fuel's greenhouse emissions. Davis pegs it at eight kilograms of CO2 per ton of coal shipped across the Pacific.
Step 4: Burning the coal. Davis figures 86 percent of the coal's carbon footprint results from its burning at plants like this in China; the other 14 percent is the result of its journey from Wyoming overland to the U.S. coast and across the Pacific.
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