One of the most striking commonalities between China and the United States is that both countries are blessed with large coal reserves,and naturally, both rely heavily on coal for their primary energy supply. U.S. coal reserves are estimated at 243 billion tons (29% of world total), and Chinese at 115 billion tons (14% of world total). China’s reserves-to-production ratio, however,is much shorter than that of the United States with only 41 years of currently-estimated economically recoverable coal compared with 224 years in the United States at current production rates (BP Statistical Review 2009). As the most abundant fossil energy resource in both countries, it is virtually certain that both will continue to rely heavily on coal due to its relatively low cost and the energy security benefits related to not having to import substantial foreign supplies of primary energy.
The utilization of coal will be increasingly limited by the climate change problem, however, unless advanced coal and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies can be developed, demonstrated, and rendered cost-effective within the next 5-15 years. Coal is the most polluting fuel from the standpoint of climate change; more carbon dioxide (CO2) is polluted from coal than from any other fuel on a gram-per-gram basis. The climate change threat is very serious and may require dramatic cuts in global greenhouse-gas emissions in the next 10-20 years (see, for example, IPCC 2007, Anderson and Bows 2008, and Meinshausen et. al 2009). In short, both China and the United States will be required to dramatically reduce GHG emissions much sooner than either country would like if prevention of dangerous climate change is to be achieved.
[The resignation of assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs Wess Mitchell] is surprising news, which seems to have caught everyone off guard. He doesn’t appear to have shared this news with his ambassadors, who were in Washington last week for a global chiefs of mission conference. His deputy is also slated to retire soon, which raises question of near term leadership on European policy at a time of challenges there.
[Wess] Mitchell was a strong supporter of NATO, particularly in Eastern Europe where he will be sorely missed. His departure comes follows the resignation of senior Pentagon officials – Robert Karem and Tom Goffus – working on NATO along with Secretary Mattis. Without this pro-alliance caucus, NATO is now more vulnerable than at any time since the beginning of the Trump administration.