Duke University recently released a study that has almost no use whatsoever. The study indicates that if South Korea would stop using its own coal sources and start importing US coal, it could save America's coal industry. They also guess that, even accounting for the long transit, that it could reduce the so-called "greenhouse gases" by 21 percent.
What they mean by "save" is interesting. Although South Korea does rely heavily on imported gas, oi, and coal, the country is slightly smaller than the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It currently ranks 11th in use of energy, but it utilizes a lot of imported gas and oil.
Do the Duke researchers mean that South Korea alone could preserve all US coal jobs?
Most likely, if US coal fired plants all go off line, the coal will go to the Third World and China. Many backers of EPA regulations against coal fired plants in the US also back construction of unregulated plants in poor countries.
Tim Carney, currently with the Washington Examiner reported that this scheme was at the heart of Enron's demise. When George W. Bush refused to sign on, it helped the company collapse.
In other words, EPA regulations kill relatively clean US coal plants. Environmentalists rejoice. World coal prices dip. New coal plants open in developing countries with no regulations whatsoever. World pollution gets worse thanks to the US EPA.
The Duke study, like many academic products, only posits what will happen if they waved a magic wand. It has no real world use.