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Why Peabody’s Bankruptcy Requires a Just Transition


Why Peabody’s Bankruptcy Requires a Just Transition

Jenny Marienau

Peabody Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday morning. Their executives claimed it was a hard decision, but the right one for the company. The news was expected - they had been signaling that this event was coming all Spring, deferring loan repayment and essentially getting their affairs in order. But even before the company knew it was headed for bankruptcy, those of us watching market signals knew this day was fast approaching. Over the course of the last 5 years, Peabody’s stock value dropped steadily from over $1000/share to where it lives now, hovering around $2.


Some of my academic colleagues got caught up in the carbon sequestration boondoggle. They were bright, well published, well intentioned, and taught at prestigious institutions. What they could not see was that the second law of thermodynamics clearly make carbon sequestration bullshit. Now bullshit itself is a form of carbon sequestration, but it is solar powered; no magical fairy provides the energy. Clean coal. Ha, ha, ha!!! Only in America!


Back in 2008, a sequestration outfit in Iowa paid me just under a 1% commission/fee to bring them landowners with large tracts of timbered land on which to use this device. I found a man in Tennessee with 175,000 acres and they paid me 16 grand. Not a bad days work.
Hardly honest though.


In 1967 I spent the summer of my 16th year at the base of Black Mesa, then it was untouched. I can never go back. I know what is there. Just the knowing disturbs me.