This energy crisis has been 30 years in the making. Why is anyone surprised? – by Rex Murphy (National Post – October 13, 2021)

The inevitable collision between 30 years of global warming hyper activism — the howling demonization of available, proven energy resources — and reality, is upon us.

There is an atmosphere of semi-panic as many of the countries most committed to “getting off” oil and gas and turning their economies over to wind and sun find winter approaching and they, environmentally virtuous as they are, are wondering if they have enough oil and gas and even coal to get through it.

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US coal use is rebounding under Biden like it never did with Trump – by Will Wade (Bloomberg News – October 12, 2021)

Donald Trump vowed to revive the coal industry, but it’s President Joe Biden who’s seeing a big comeback of the dirtiest fossil fuel. U.S. power plants are on track to burn 23% more coal this year, the first increase since 2013, despite Biden’s ambitious plan to eliminate carbon emissions from the power grid.

The rebound comes after consumption by utilities plunged 36% under Trump, who slashed environmental regulations in an unsuccessful effort to boost the fuel.

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OPINION: There is no quick fix for Europe’s self-manufactured energy crisis – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – October 9, 2021)

Suppose you were told 10 years ago that you had 10 years to replace your soot-spewing diesel car. You did not. Now, you’ve missed the deadline and have no right to be surprised by your sudden lack of four-wheeled transportation – you had ample time to buy a hybrid or electric car.

So it is with Europe. A bit more than a decade ago, a concerted effort was launched within the European Union countries and a few others on the continent to phase out their coal-fired generating plants to clean the skies and slow the pace of global warming.

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If you’re feeling good about your renewable energy stocks, better look away from the rally in coal – by David Berman (Globe and Mail – October 8, 2021)

Renewable energy is a growing sector that sits well with investors who want to align their portfolios with environmental solutions to global warming. But have you seen what coal has been doing? Welcome to one of the great conundrums in today’s market.

Funds that conform to environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles are seeing a massive influx of investor dollars. Yet companies involved with fossil fuel extraction are being rewarded with spectacular gains this year, as demand for traditional energy surges against a backdrop of tight supplies that could last for months.

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U.S. Coal Mines Are Running Out of Miners Just as Demand Booms – by Will Wade (Bloomberg News – October 6, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Just when the world is clamoring for more coal, U.S. suppliers are facing a shortage of miners. The number of coal miners in the U.S. has been sliding for years, and is down about 8.6% from before the pandemic.

People who have left are reluctant to come back and young people are even more wary about taking a job in an industry that they’ve consistently been told has no future given the global push toward clean energy.

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Mining giant eyes transition to copper from coal – by Nelson Bennett (Business In Vancouver – October 6, 2021)

Metallurgical coal prices are at all-time highs, providing companies like Teck Resources (TSX:TECK.B, NYSE:TECK) – the world’s second-largest producer of steelmaking coal – with a potential big windfall.

And with the long-term demand for steel expected to grow significantly over the next few decades – driven largely by global decarbonization efforts – there is perhaps no better time to be in the met-coal business.

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Energy Crisis Deepens in India as Power Plants Face Outages – by Rajesh Kumar Singh and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – October 4, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — The worsening squeeze on India’s coal supply is triggering a power crisis that’s threatening to stall the world’s fastest-expanding major economy.

Coal-fired power stations had an average of four days’ worth of stock of the fuel at the end of last month, the lowest level in years, and down from 13 days at the start of August. More than half the plants are on alert for outages.

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Environment minister restores federal assessment of Alberta coal mine – by Bob Weber (CBC News Edmonton – October 1, 2021)

Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has reinstated his decision to subject a thermal coal mine expansion in Alberta to a federal review after a court ordered him to rethink it.

“Following the reconsideration process, I have determined that the physical activities warrant [federal] designation,” Wilkinson said in a statement regarding the proposed Vista expansion project.

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Four signals from soaring fossil fuels – by Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – September 30, 2021)

Find your favourite indicator of fossil fuel prices. Let’s begin with the price of coal in China, where futures have surged to US$212 a metric tonne, up 20 per cent through September and 300 per cent over the past year.

Natural gas futures approached US$6 per British thermal unit. A litre of gasoline at some Toronto stations hit $1.40, a new high in nominal dollars as the price of crude oil hit US$80 a barrel. So what’s going on and what does it mean?

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Europe Asking Russia for More Coal Is Set for Disappointment – by Anna Shiryaevskaya and Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – September 30, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — It’s not just extra natural gas that Europe’s struggling energy markets are finding tough to get from Russia.

Power producers in the continent are being forced to ask Russia for more coal to ease an energy crunch with winter approaching and record-high gas prices denting profitability, according to officials at two Russian coal companies. But they may be left stranded as any increase in exports from the country won’t be substantial, they said.

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Column: China’s coal crunch is self-inflicted, costly and temporary – by Clyde Russell (Reuters – September 30, 2021)

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – China is paying a high price for policies that curbed domestic coal output and imports, and led to a shortage of the fuel that still largely powers the world’s second-largest economy.

The good news for Beijing is that while the scarcity of coal will cause problems for energy-intensive industries, such as steel and aluminium, the situation is likely to be resolved relatively quickly.

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Maritime mining community shows solidarity with Sudbury, Ont. rescue effort – by Ryan MacDonald (CTV News Atlantic – September 28, 2021)

GLACE BAY, N.S. — The whole country is watching the dramatic rescue of the Sudbury, Ont. miners with bated breath on Tuesday, but even more so in Maritime mining communities. As the workers continue to resurface, so too, are some strong feelings.

“You’re trying to put yourself in their place, the fear that they’re going through,” said Eric Spencer, a coal miner of 30 years in Glace Bay, NS. Spencer says for any miner, not being able to get back to the surface is their worst fear realized.

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South Africa Miners Back Gradual Move Away From Coal-Fired Power – by Antony Sguazzin (Bloomberg News – September 27, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s mining industry has given its backing to moving the continent’s most developed economy away from coal but said it must be done gradually and responsibly.

In a presentation to the country’s Presidential Climate Change Coordinating Commission late last week the main body representing the industry said that 60% of the country’s $302 billion economy is reliant on energy produced from coal.

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It’s a $50b-a-year export industry. How long until coal’s rivers of gold run dry? – by Nick Toscano and Mike Foley (Sydney Morning Herald – September 27, 2021)

If the end of coal is near, it’s hard to see it among the open pits and billowing cooling towers of Victoria’s Latrobe Valley and the Hunter in NSW. Canyons of brown and black coal, set between green paddocks and sloping hills, loom large in these mining districts and dominate their economies as a source of great wealth, just as they have for a century or more.

A global push is accelerating to eliminate the use of thermal coal — the worst-emitting source of energy — to restrain the planet’s rising temperature and avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

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OPINION: Coal’s unwelcome revival is bad news for the UN’s crucial climate summit in Glasgow – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – September 11, 2021)

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.

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