Study indicates that the Coal industry is a “dead man walking’

The Decline of Appalachian coal and the need for diversification

By Rory McIlmoil and Evan Hansen
Rory McIlmoil, M.A., Staff Research Analyst, Energy and Climate Change Program.
Evan Hansen,M.S., Principal, Environmental Policy Program

The U.S. Department of Energy projects that in a little more than three years, the amount of coal mined in Appalachia will be just half of what it was in 2008.  After that, the downward spiral will continue.  There is no magic remedy, no quick fix: when the coal is gone, it’s gone. Source: AP

Review of Hansen/McIlmoil PDF HERE

More important, the decline of Appalachian coal means it’s time for every political candidate with national aspirations to stop kissing the industry’s ass in important swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.  The future of these states depends on their ability to re-invent their economies, not preserving a relic of the past.  The relevant questions now are: How do we move beyond coal?  How do we bring new jobs to the coal fields and retrain coal miners for other work?   How do we inspire entrepreneurialism and self-reliance in people whose lives have been dependent on the paternalistic coal industry?

It also means it’s time to stop letting Big Coal spike every conversation about climate and energy policy.  For decades, climate and energy policy has been held hostage by bullshit arguments from the coal industry that any attempts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution or shift to renewable energy will bring economic ruin to America.

Well, the decline and fall of the coal industry shows that just the opposite is true: Our future is not dependent on burning more coal, but on getting off it as quickly as possible and creating a new economy based on clean, renewable energy.  It may be too late for West Virginia to save itself from the ravages of Big Coal.  But it’s not too late for America.

Source: Rolling Stone

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2 Responses to Study indicates that the Coal industry is a “dead man walking’

  1. Walt says:

    Hard to believe that we can go from reserves of 50 billion tons four years ago to nothing in just a few short years.

    What are we going to do, with coal running out in a few years, and wind and solar energy not being ready for another 25-30 years, how will we survive?

    Any ideas?

  2. Citizen Harry says:

    If you had actually read the study, you wouldn’t say “50 billion tons to nothing”, because it doesn’t say that. It makes note that the costs of getting to thinner and thinner coal seams, and the depletion of reserves are not going to be economically feasible, especially when combined with the socio-economic and health care costs that come from this antiquated, ancient, dirty, dangerous, deadly, destructive way of extracting energy from the ground. Again you’re over-exaggerating as usual in your pundit style to try and make your debunk.

    As we all know, big money and political power is involved. If there was a shred of interest in providing for our children and grandchildren’s future rather than lining fat cats pockets with easy money, and using fossil fuel dependence as a lever to wield ungodly, evil amounts of power, there would be resources available to move towards a new energy future. It is possible, Walt. Every second the sun produces enough energy (400 trillion trillion watts) to power all the earths civilizations current needs for 500,000 years. With all this energy available, and given a different political environment that isn’t bent on controlling the world through feigned dependence on fossil fuels, it would indeed be almost instantly possible.

    But those in power go on like it’s not a pressing problem, as if they know something about the future that we don’t. Maybe they do!

    The question here is not how we would create new sources of energy, given dire need. (Which by the way, is now.) But how to remove the engineers riding the greed/power train at full steam towards a track to nowhere, as is referenced by the previous posts that show the government complicit in censorship and the degradation of the Bill of Rights in obvious cahoots with the fossil fuel industry.

    THAT’S where the true problem lies, Walt.

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