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'Coal increasingly substitutes for oil in US, China, India'

Washington, Nov 16 : With oil prices skyrocketing, coal production is increasing in the countries like US, China and India despite environmental hazards, a media report claimed.

According to BP, the global energy company, the world coal consumption last year rose 6.9 per cent compared with 2.1 per cent for oil, the Wall Street Journal said.

This year, coal production in the US is expected to climb to a record 1.2 billion tonnes, an increase of more than 3.7 per cent from 2003. In China, coal production is expected to increase by 200 million tonnes, or 11.8 per cent, this year to 1.9 billion tonnes.

Peabody Energy Corp, the largest US coal producer, plans to double its annual production to 400 million tonnes by 2010, the report said, adding China's largest coal miner, Shenhua Group, is planning to double its production to 200 million tonnes in the period.

The Bush Administration rejected the Kyoto Protocol to reduce global emissions because it did not include developing nations like China and India.

According to the Journal, future international negotiations "are likely to focus on producing a successor agreement to Kyoto that would include the US, China and India, in the belief that any accord that does not include these major emitters won't do much to curb global warming." The paper said that in the US and Europe, the cost of cleaning up coal plants and the anticipated cost of carbon capture, as well as a run-up in natural-gas costs, are making nuclear power more competitive.

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