A symbolic event with widespread coverage: Britain goes a full day without using coal for electricity
As the New York Times and others reported earlier this week:
Friday was the first full day since the height of the Industrial Revolution that Britain did not burn coal to generate electricity, a development that officials and climate change activists celebrated as a watershed moment.
The accomplishment became official just before 11 p.m., when the 24-hour period ended.
Coal powered Britain into the industrial age and into the 21st century, contributing greatly to the “pea souper” fogs that were thought for decades to be a natural phenomenon of the British climate.
CAP study concludes that Trump’s budget will have dire effects for coal country
The Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank, recently released a detailed study that documents what President Trump’s proposed budget will do to the Appalachian coal community. Here is their conclusion:
There is no canary in the coal mine to warn against the unfounded promises President Trump has made on the campaign trail or in office. Market forces have shifted coal production and employment away from Appalachia, and President Trump’s budget would cut vital funding aimed at revitalizing these coal communities and helping them move into the future. Without facing reality and continuing to invest in actual pathways that would lead to coal country’s economic development and diversification, the president will leave those communities and workers even further behind.
A just released Columbia University study examines the future of coal and coal communities
Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy just released a study on the future of coal. Their conclusion:
While US coal mining employment has been on the decline for nearly a century, the drop in the past five years has been particularly dramatic and acutely painful for coal communities in from Central Appalachia to the Powder River Basin. While President Trump has promised to reverse that decline and bring about a renaissance in US coal production and employment, our analysis suggests that’s unlikely to occur.
The study suggests:
Rather than bet on a mining recovery that may never arrive, it makes more sense for coal communities, government, and other private and public sector organizations to come together or leverage the other assets—both human capital and natural resources—that exist in coal country to attract investment in new sources of job creation and economic growth.
It then points to a number of local success stories and concludes:
To be clear, these programs and new economic opportunities are a far cry from returning coal country to the prosperity it once knew. Revitalizing America’s coal communities is not easy. The recent pace of decline in coal production has been dramatic, and new sources of employment, tax revenue, and economic growth aren’t going to show up quickly. But the responsible response from policymakers is to be honest about these facts—about the causes of coal’s decline and unlikeliness of its resurgence—rather than offer false hope that the glory days can be revived.