By now, coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, was supposed to be well on its way to the industrial graveyard. Thanks, you nasty old brute, you gave us a century and a half of cheap electric power; now your time is up, for the sake of the planet.
Yet like a senior citizen with a new heart transplant, coal is getting a second wind and refuses to die. Prices and demand are soaring and fleets of new coal plants are under construction in high-growth parts of the planet.
All this is distressing for the Greta Thunbergs of the world, the environmental groups, the few enlightened governments that are ridding their electricity grids of coal-fired power, climate scientists everywhere and the hosts of the upcoming COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow.
COP26 (the acronym stands for conference of the parties) is in trouble and shaping up to be a failure. The Climate Action Network, an umbrella environmental association with members in more than 130 countries, wants the event postponed, arguing the low COVID-19 vaccination rates in dozens of developing countries, as well as the high costs of travel and accommodation in Scotland, have made it impossible for the summit to be “safe, inclusive and just.”