Interesting article in the NYTimes on the global trade in coal. The basic point: while developed countries move to limit the use of coal as a fuel for electrical generation in order to reduce emissions, that very same coal is being sold to China. Moreover, where the coal was traditionally burned close to where it was mined, now it is shipped thousands of miles -- with the additional cost in emissions. And, to make it even more problematic, as demand has grown so has the price and, hence, more production and new mines. In short, local action to reduce emissions is going for nothing at the global level as those emissions are merely being relocated.
The graph above shows that the vast majority of countries are either importing less coal or exporting more of it. The one major exception, China, which has gone from a net exporter to a net importer in the two years between 2007 and 2009.
As the above map shows, there are a large number of countries involved in the trading of coal. The bulk of the shipments to China, however, come from Australia and Indonesia.