ROVANIEMI, Finland — The Arctic is melting, but don’t ask U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to mention climate change.For the Trump administration, disappearing sea ice in the world’s “high north” is first and foremost an opportunity to exploit rather than a crisis to mitigate.That position was made clear by Pompeo over two days as the foreign ministers of the eight members of the Arctic Council met in Finland.Official U.S. statements and documents prepared for the meeting do not refer to “climate change” and their scientific focus is limited to reductions in U.S. carbon emissions that predate the administration and research.In a roughly 20-minute speech outlining the Trump administration’s Arctic policy on Monday, Pompeo acknowledged melting ice but didn’t use the phrase “climate change.” In fact, his address was largely an admonition against increasing Russian and Chinese activity in the Arctic. Nor did he indicate that the administration places any priority on easing the melting that scientists say is already causing oceans to rise.“Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new naval passageways and new opportunities for trade, potentially slashing the time it takes for ships to travel between Asia and the West by 20 days,” he said in the speech, which was met with polite but muted applause.“Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century’s Suez and Panama Canals.”Asked directly about climate change and the Arctic in an interview with a Finnish newspaper, Pompeo declined the opportunity to mention the phrase and downplayed the importance of the Paris climate accord from which President Donald Trump.“My view on this and President Trump’s view on this is what we should put all our emphasis on I outcomes,” he said. “We can call it whatever we like, but I shared some of the data in the speech. The United States is kicking it when it comes to getting its CO2 down. I mean, compare it to China, compare it to Russia, compare it, frankly, to many European nations, each of whom signed the Paris agreement.”According to the statistics he presented, U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions fell by 14% between 2005 and 2017, while global energy-related CO2 emissions increased more than 20%. In terms of black carbon, which is a particular threat to the Arctic, U.S. emissions were 16% below 2013 levels in 2016 and are projected to nearly halve by 2025, he said.“I’m sure it was a good party,” Pompeo said of the negotiations in Paris. “I’m sure it felt good to sign the agreement. But at the end of the day, what matters to human health, what matters to the citizens of the world, is that we actually have an impact on improving health. And our technology, our innovation, the R&D we put in in the United States, that’s what will drive better climatic outcomes, that’s what will create cleaner air and safer drinking water, and that’s what I hope the whole world will focus on.”Pompeo again declined the opportunity to mention “climate change” on Tuesday when he met with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland who pointedly referred to the phenomenon as she played down a dispute with the United States over the sovereignty of the Northwest Passage.“We have a very close, very fruitful collaboration,” she said. “And actually, as we see the conditions of the Northwest Passage changing with our changing climate, I think that’s actually grounds for closer collaboration with the United States.”Pompeo replied by saying the U.S. is more concerned about Russia and China in the Arctic than ownership of the Northwest Passage.“The challenges in the Arctic aren’t between the United States and Canada, let me assure you,” he said. “There are others that threaten to use it in ways that are not consistent with the rule of law.”Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
US coal exports increased 35% to 53.6 million short tons through June 2011, according to a recent edition of NMA’s (National Mining Association) International Coal Review. Strong demand from Asia and Europe for steam and metallurgical coal is expected to push coal exports above 100 million tons by the year’s end, the highest level in nearly 20 years. NMA’s economic forecast prepared in May predicted 2011 coal exports would reach 101.5 million tons (up 24%). The Energy Information Administration’s August Short-term Energy Outlook predicts 2011 coal exports of 98 million tons. The annualised rate based on half year data would be about 107 million tons by the year’s end. In 2010, the US exported just more than 81 million tons of coal.Steam coal exports through June 2011, excluding lignite and anthracite, increased 88% to 18 million tons, and metallurgical coal exports increased nearly 18% to 35 million tons, according to the report. Anthracite and lignite exports were up 6% and 1% respectively.NMA’s report found that imported coal, which stood at about 6.8 million tons year to date, was down about 31% from the 2010 level of 9.9 million tons. Annual coal imports peaked at 36.3 million tons in 2007, dropping somewhat in recent years. Coal imports totalled 22.6 million tons in 2010 and now account for roughly 2% of US coal consumption.