The fossil fuel era is coming to an end and…

❝ “Coal is dead.”

These are not the words of a Greenpeace activist or left-wing politician, but of Jim Barry, the global head of the infrastructure investment group at Blackrock — the world’s largest asset manager. Barry made this statement in 2017, but the writing has been on the wall for longer than that.

❝ Banks know it, which is why they are increasingly unwilling to underwrite new coal mines and power plants. Unions and coal workers know it, which is why they are demanding a just transition and new employment opportunities in the clean economy. Even large diversified mining companies are getting out of the business of coal.

The only ones who seem to have remained in denial are President Donald Trump and non-diversified mining companies like Westmoreland Coal. The Denver-based firm made a bad bet in 2013 when it purchased five coal mines in Alberta. Now it wants Canadian taxpayers to pay for its mistake.

This is becoming a battleground, many ways and means, many reasons. Workers who need retraining and creepy investors trying to get out of foolish contracts do not have common cause.

3 thoughts on “The fossil fuel era is coming to an end and…

  1. Molly Maguire says:

    ● “U.S. coal firm launches NAFTA suit against Alberta over coal phase-out” (11/20/18) https://www.barchart.com/story/news/cryptocurrency-news/1301816/us-coal-firm-launches-nafta-suit-against-alberta-over-coal-phase-out “The company made its Canadian investment in response to U.S. president Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which would force U.S. utilities to reduce their reliance on coal. President Donald Trump is reversing the policy.
    “We saw the investment in Canada as a diversification of regulatory risk,” she said. “We did a lot of research and we were focused on the fact that the federal government [in Canada] had provided a 50-year life for power plants.” The company lawyer said she could not comment on whether Westmoreland has assessed its financial risks from tougher regulations related to climate change or carbon pricing. The U.S. parent company is in bankruptcy proceedings and its lenders are expected to be the new owners.
    ● “Workers of bankrupt Westmoreland Coal take fight to protect retirees” (Denver Post 1/10/19) https://www.denverpost.com/2019/01/10/westmoreland-coal-protests-retiree-benefits/ Westmoreland’s proposed changes to the company’s agreements with the United Mine Workers of America include freezing retirees’ pensions and eliminating their medical benefits. The company has also proposed abolishing union contracts if the mines are sold. Westmoreland has said in court filings that potential buyers of its operations won’t make offers if it means taking on the pension and medical costs. Westmoreland Coal Company’s bankruptcy will also effect retired miners in Central Appalachia see http://appvoices.org/2019/01/11/virginians-brace-for-the-fallout-from-westmoreland-coals-bankruptcy/
    ● “Market value of top 12 US coal producers down $2.11B since Q3’18” (S&P Global market intelligence 1/10/19) https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/trending/El54WM-HfznqIcs5mZA1zQ2 The 12 largest publicly traded U.S. coal producers lost 16.6% of their total market value since September 2018, with just one seeing an increase during the period.
    ● Colorado could save $2.5 billion by rapidly shutting down its coal power plants (VOX 1/8/19) https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/1/8/18170454/colorado-coal-power-plants-shut-down-close-renewables

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