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Sete anos atrás, a Polícia Ambiental do Estado de São Paulo iniciou um plano para combater o comércio ilegal de madeira por meio de melhorias na fiscalização. Em 2011, durante uma de suas mais ambiciosas operações de fiscalização, agentes da Polícia Ambiental inspecionaram quase 350 caminhões e mais de 60 serrarias em apenas dois dias. Descobrindo diversas infrações, os agentes emitiram 50 autuações e aplicaram um total de R$2,2 milhões (US$ 1,4 milhões) em multas.

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The United States and China are the world’s two largest economies. They are also the two largest producers and consumers of coal, and the largest emitters of carbon dioxide. In recent years, however, their paths on coal have started to diverge.

Over the last few years, coal consumption has dropped dramatically in the United States, mainly due to low natural gas prices. In response to weak domestic demand, the U.S. coal industry has been rushing to find its way out to the international market. Last year, U.S. coal exports hit a historical high of 114 million metric tons.

However, it is worth noting that the shift away from coal in the U.S. may not be permanent. As my colleague, Kristin Meek, pointed out in an earlier blog post, coal use in the U.S. power sector was on the rise again towards the end of 2012, likely driven by the new uptick in natural gas prices.

On the other side of the globe, China’s appetite for coal continues to grow. In response, Chinese power companies are looking to tap the international coal market for sources that are more reliable and cost competitive. Among those markets is the United States. In 2012, China imported 290 million metric tons of coal. China was the third largest destination for U.S. coal exports, behind the Netherlands and the U.K.

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