Home | About | Donate

Death of US Coal Exemplifies Need for Paradigm Shift for Global Energy System


#1

Death of US Coal Exemplifies Need for Paradigm Shift for Global Energy System

Lauren McCauley, staff writer

A new report released Tuesday by the London-based Carbon Tracker Initiative warns that the crash of U.S. coal markets is but a harbinger of things to come for all fossil fuel investments.

The report, The U.S. Coal Crash – Evidence for Structural Change (pdf), found that the slump in coal prices has forced more than two dozen U.S. coal companies into bankruptcy over the past three years.


#2

Death Penalty for US Coal Industry; just look at that picture of what they have been doing to the mountain tops in my Kentucky and West Virginia. Blasphemous.


#4

Considering how corrupt the present US Gov't is top to bottom I wouldn't count King Coal out quite yet.


#5

As another Kentuckian, I quite agree. And it's not just the coal-Eastern Kentucky has always been prey for extractive industries. My husband grew up there and he says the a great part of the region was clear cut logged way back in the day and all the old timber is gone.


#8

Why stop at species indictment? I think going cosmic would be a more effective argument.

I hereby indict the Big Bang.


#9

I just read Kerry's speech to the Atlantic Council, and I sure didn't see the statement that we have to stop using all fossil fuels. I did see some soaring rhetoric, which is nice (at least it beats the alternative). I also saw a call out to liquified natural gas as a beneficial bridge fuel; I saw a call out to clean coal and carbon sequestration as "very helpful".

Until Kerry turns the rhetoric into action, I'll remain a sceptic. If he's so damned concerned about climate change, he can recommend denial of the Presidential Permit for Keystone XL. Oh wait, he's still "analyzing" that one.


#10

And yet Mitch the coal master just got reelected and his wife owns ships that bring coal into the us from Columbia, what say you in Kentucky


#11

Your headline and story are incomplete. Death from the coal and fossil fuel and chemical paradigm. They are the reason for our epidemic of cancers and internal diseases. From carcinogenic spewing coal ash and smoke stacks and carcinogenic fertilizers and pesticides. They are oligarch WMD's for wealth and power.


#12

Welcome news from the silver linings dept. but this still comes attached to a dark cloud. A big chunk of the shift is to natural gas, which means less CO2 but more methane. Another factor in the recent downtick in coal production has been that we've been running down the reserves, which is why coal production was down in 2013 even though the amount of coal we burned was up. And the IEA is projecting US coal consumption to fall by an average of 1.7% per year through 2019, but global coal consumption is projected to increase by 2.1% per year over the same period. However, that rate of growth is down from the peak rate of growth, so while the accelerator pedal is still descending (and the coal-fired engine is still revving faster and faster) it's not descending quite as fast as before. So yay, feel free to pop those champagne corks. We have passed the steepest slope of accelerating acceleration, gotten over the hump of steady acceleration, and if we can sustain this, we may finally be into a phase of decelerating acceleration.


#15

I'm thinking the drop in oil prices is helping too. I'm guessing that OPEC was concerned about the competition from fraking and tar sands and was keeping the oil prices high long enough for people to invest in fraking and tar sands. Then, after the frakers and such got in too deep, OPEC pulls the rug out from under them by lowering the prices on oil. The bigger they are the harder they fall. Oh what fun!

Still, I wouldn't put it past republicans to create a corporate welfare program to fund coal companies who can't find a market for their product. Don't they call those subsidies? I wonder if the republicans will try to find a way to shame the coal companies who take these welfare/subsidies like they try to do to single moms who apply for benefits.


#16

I almost replied...but you nailed it.
I would say boston needs some sun and a little less snow.

No Andrew, the height of our achievement is not based
on our lowest common denominator.
Either pick up the pace or get out of the way.

As usual Germany is forging ahead, now producing over half of their energy in solar.


#17

If you invest money, don't invest it in anything that's likely to crash. That includes toxic chemical industries (that have tended to attract huge class action suits in the past), tobacco (boy did they crash!), nuclear (TEPCO in Japan still has the government's sympathy but they have the rest of Japan out to string them up) and fossil fuels. Yes, California and half the world can sue all culprits if they can prove damages from climate change, and then they can collect from the culprits with deep pockets. Also watch out for public health class action suits.


#18

I don't want these blood suckers to "adapt their business models", any more than I'd wish the Mafia to.

I want them to be charged, convicted and commensurately sentenced for their copious crimes.

There I go thinking about impractical concepts like justice again.


#19

From various sites:

Australia: In fiscal year 2008/09, 487 million tonnes of coal was mined, and 261 million tonnes exported. Coal accounted for almost 13 per cent of Australia’s total goods and services exports in 2012-13 down from 15 per cent in 2011-12. This made coal the nation’s second largest export earner after iron ore.

Over the last five years, coal has accounted, on average, for more than 15 per cent of Australia’s total exports – with export earnings either on par or greater than Australia’s total agricultural exports.

Queensland has recorded a spike in coal exports in the face of a wider global coal downturn.The state saw almost 216 million tonnes exported in 2014, higher than previous guidance, and a consistent rate of growth from 168 million tonnes and 196 million tonnes in 2012 and 2013 respectively.


#20

It is a sad state of affairs that the FUGLY old bastard won. My only consolation was seeing the photo of him voting in his neighborhood polling place, which happens to be mine as well, with another resident of this district openly mocking the POS from (2) booths behind. It was posted all over the news. Priceless.

He lost in his own neighborhood; the one he probably only comes to visit at voting time.


#21

I don't understand why more people don't know about Rossi's e-cat. It seems that he was able to produce 1.5 MW of energy across a 32 day period. The Swedes and the Italians have confirmed Rossi's findings. It certainly seems that cold fusion is here to stay. It surprises me that people don't know about the greatest discovery of the century.


#22

I don't want to be tiresome about this, but I still didn't hear a goal enunciated for 100% renewable energy (I had read the Q&A response before your posted the video link). In any case, talk is good but talk is cheap. When Kerry moves to inflict some financial pain on the fossil fuel companies (looking at you, TransCanada), I'll believe it.


#23

For 2014, slightly less than 2.5% of German energy production came from solar. For the electricity sector alone, solar accounted for 5.8% of gross power production--thanks in part to a sunny summer and a mild winter cutting down coal consumption. (Reduced coal meant that the share of German nuclear increased to 15.9% for 2014, even though that sector's production remained flat.) For a few hours during a summer holiday or weekend, German solar can produce as much as half of the electricity, but peak values are not representative of the total mix. 80% of gross German energy production still comes from fossil fuels.


#24

I support the development of any promising variety of nuclear power, but all indications are that the ecat is as bogus as the thorium car and that Rossi is a just an ordinary scammer. He's been doing these demonstrations for "independent" observers for years, and if he'd actually reached the levels of output claimed, he'd have had no problem getting into production long ago.

If you want the real deal in microscale nuclear, the most promising project at this time is Eric Lerner's focus fusion reactor (Lawrenceville Plasma Physics). That's still considered a low-odds long shot, and he hasn't reached parity energy return yet, but at least his approach is thoroughly grounded in established physics. It all comes down to how precisely he can control plasma behavior.

If he does succeed, that would rapidly revolutionize global energy. The only catch would be that his reactor consumes boron, which is a relatively rare element, so it would only buy us a few centuries. We would still have to develop other energy sources eventually.