I want to pass along three interesting articles I have read over the past day or so about coal's decline (or alleged decline) in the United States totally unrelated to EPA's recent proposed rule on carbon emissions from existing power plants. Here are the takeaways:
- From former Sierra Club CEO Carl Pope at EcoWatch: Hundreds of years of mining existing coal seams has made coal harder and more expensive to extract.
- From Berkeley Professor Meredith Fowley at The Energy Collective: The low price of natural gas and limited opportunities for exports (at least not yet) has made it economically attractive to switch fuel sources. This article has some very nice graphs about the decline of coal as a fuel source.
- From Rebecca Leber at the New Republic: Retrospective of pro-coal ads shows that coal has been predicting its own demise for over 40 years. I especially love the 1976 Coal Ad about the OPEC energy embargo.
Reading these articles reminds me a bit of the scene in Monty Python's Holy Grail about the bubonic plague. Coal may be dying, but its not dead yet.