"The reduction in CO2 emissions resulting from the switch from coal to gas in the US has been entirely offset by the export of the coal saved".It gets worse because, carried away with the point they consider themselves to have scored, they go on:
"A similar argument can be applied to the UK, as North Sea oil saved by burning shale gas in place of gas will not remain in the ground".I could just about conjure up a highly improbable scenario in which one or both of these could logically be the case, but I see no prima facie evidence for them. A huge amount of complex empirical analysis would be required to ascertain the truth of them, not to mention wrestling with labyrinthine counterfactuals, none of which has been carried out by them or anyone else - certainly not the flawed Tyndall Centre work they call in aid, which demonstrates nothing of the sort (though it sort of hints in that direction as a possibility they'd like to believe in - and even then, they only suggest that half of the US coal might have been involved in this way).
So here's the challenge. Assume a world where coal-burning emits 2 units of CO2, gas 1 unit, and renewables 0 units. What would need to be the case for the profs' assertions to be true?
Bonus question: what would they say, do you imagine, about the fossil fuels displaced by renewables - where will they go ?