Archive | Coal

Other Voices: Biden infrastructure plan targets state’s coal communities – by Deb Haaland (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – August 1, 2021)

Deb Haaland is the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

As I travel throughout America, I am filled with hope as I see businesses open and communities recovering. Thanks to President Joe Biden’s leadership in passing the American Rescue Plan and making progress in defeating COVID-19, economic growth is up and unemployment is down.

The nation’s ongoing economic recovery is opening opportunities to help stabilize and empower workers who have been facing economic instability since before the pandemic.

During my trip to Schuylkill County earlier this month, I saw firsthand how hardworking coal communities here in Pennsylvania helped power our country, but are now facing significant challenges in restoring their community environments and retooling toward developing a robust and sustainable clean energy future. Continue Reading →

Why China makes Trudeau’s carbon tax irrelevant – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – July 31, 2021)

In 2019, China for the first time generated more emissions than the entire developed world combined

Whenever human-induced climate change is discussed during Canada’s upcoming federal election, keep in mind the country that matters most on this issue is China and the fossil fuel that matters most in China is coal.

The reason is that whatever China does makes whatever Canada does irrelevant in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s because coal — not oil — is the most carbon intensive fossil fuel and the main contributor to global emissions. In China, coal-fired electricity supplies 57% of its energy needs. In Canada it’s 7.4%. Continue Reading →

Behind the Rise of U.S. Solar Power, a Mountain of Chinese Coal – by Matthew Dalton (Wall Street Journal – July 31, 2021)

Solar panel installations are surging in the U.S. and Europe as Western countries seek to cut their reliance on fossil fuels.

But the West faces a conundrum as it installs panels on small rooftops and in sprawling desert arrays: Most of them are produced with energy from carbon-dioxide-belching, coal-burning plants in China.

Concerns are mounting in the U.S. and Europe that the solar industry’s reliance on Chinese coal will create a big increase in emissions in the coming years as manufacturers rapidly scale up production of solar panels to meet demand. That would make the solar industry one of the world’s most prolific polluters, analysts say, undermining some of the emissions reductions achieved from widespread adoption. Continue Reading →

Coal-spewing China has taken the world’s climate hostage – by Terry Glavin (National Post – July 29, 2021)

While we’ve been busy beating up on Albertans and their oil, Beijing has been laughing at us

After having ransacked the economies of the world’s liberal democracies and wrecked what is still quaintly called the “rules-based international order,” Xi Jinping’s police state in Beijing has now made it abundantly clear that under Xi’s supreme-leader command, the People’s Republic is determined to seize the global agenda on climate change.

And if the world responds with Canadian-style accommodation and capitulation, Beijing will persist in its ambitions — even to the point of taking the global climate hostage while the rest of us, as well as the Chinese people, suffer the consequences of catastrophic climate change.

More heat domes, more apocalyptic floods, more ruinous ecological collapse. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Grassy Mountain mine decision hurts community and Alberta’s reputation – by Eric Lowther (Edmonton Journal – July 29, 2021)

Eric Lowther was a member of Parliament, representing Calgary Centre in the House of Commons, as well as a municipal councillor for Rocky View County.

It is just not right. After nearly five years engaged in a rigorous government process, successfully meeting an ever-increasing number of regulatory requirements, bolstered by the support of First Nations communities and affected residents, after doing everything right and being willing to do even more, the company proposing the Grassy Mountain coal mine was effectively told to go away.

It’s like applying for a position, writing the tests, going through numerous personal evaluations — passing every single one — and being encouraged along the way, only to be told at the end of process that the position never really existed. That’s nasty, that’s wrong and that is what happened to Benga Mining.

And it is also what happened to the hardworking people in the municipality of Crowsnest Pass. Continue Reading →

Climate scientists begin key report as G20 failed to reach phase-out coal deal – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – July 26, 2021)

More than 200 of the world’s leading climate scientists began working Monday on an updated version of a key report summarizing how Earth’s climate has already changed, and what humans can expect for the rest of the century.

The last time the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations body that coordinates research about global warming, published this report was in 2013.

At the time, the experts said humans were the “dominant cause” of global warming since the 1950s. The document paved the way for the Paris climate agreement signed in 2015. Continue Reading →

‘Inexplicably frozen’: Judge quashes Ottawa’s Coalspur order as it failed to consult with Ermineskin Cree Nation – by Kelsey Rolfe (Financial Post – July 24, 2021)

Comes just weeks after a federal policy statement on thermal coal all but sent Coalspur’s Vista expansion up in smoke

Coalspur Mines Ltd.’s controversial Vista mine expansion project is no longer subject to the federal impact assessment process, a federal judge ruled this week.

The Federal Court ruling quashed a June 2020 designation order from Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson that subjected both Vista’s proposed open-pit expansion and underground test mine to review by the federal impact assessment agency.

It found the minister had failed to consult the Ermineskin Cree Nation, which has an impact benefit agreement with Coalspur, and instead only consulted Indigenous communities who sought the designation order before issuing his decision. Continue Reading →

Investigate water pollution in B.C.’s Elk Valley, environmental groups urge federal agencies – by Xiao Xu (July 22, 2021)

Environmental groups are asking Canada’s parliamentary environment watchdog and the federal auditor-general to investigate what they say is Ottawa’s failure to apply laws and prevent serious water pollution from coal mines in British Columbia’s Elk Valley.

The University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre, along with Wildsight, is asking the agencies to investigate the “long-standing failure” to stop the contamination of waterways with unacceptably high levels of selenium, a decades-old problem.

Selenium is a naturally occurring element that washes out of piles of waste rock, but in concentrated levels, it moves through the food chain and can cause deformities in fish and ruin their ability to reproduce. Continue Reading →

China to ramp up coal production to meet demand – by Sohrab Darabshaw (Metal Miner – July 21, 2021)

While the rest of the world is trying to com to grips with the European Union’s proposed carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) – which calls for the levying of charges on non-E.U. products in relation to their embedded carbon footprint — China, on the other hand, is currently grappling with a slightly different energy-related issue.

A massive heat wave in some parts of the country coupled with a shortage of coal because of China’s spat with chief supplier Australia has sent coal prices soaring.

Now, China, the world’s biggest consumer of coal, plans to add almost 110 million tons (MT) per year of advanced production capacity in the second half of this year to meet the rising demand of coal. Continue Reading →

Coal firm appeals rejection of Grassy Mountain open-pit mine – by Ian Vandaelle (BNN Bloomberg – July 19, 2021)

The company behind a proposal to build a massive open-pit coal mine along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains is appealing a regulatory decision that halted the development last month.

Australia-based Benga Mining Limited said Monday it launched a legal appeal process to dispute the rejection of the Grassy Mountain steelmaking coal mine by a joint provincial-federal review panel, taking issue with a number of the panel’s findings.

Benga Chief Executive Officer John Wallington said in a release the company disagreed with the Joint Review Panel (JRP) and Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) methodology and conclusion, including Benga’s view that the regulators did not properly take into account First Nations’ support for the project. Continue Reading →

Report: Appalachian states face billions in mining cleanup (Associated Press/Lexington Herald Leader – July 15, 2021)

The cleanup and reclaiming of coal mines in seven Appalachian states will cost billions, and Kentucky and West Virginia have the largest bills coming due, according to an environmental group’s new report.

Total reclamation liability for the two states is between $4.1 and $5.8 billion, with less than half of that covered by existing bonds, according to estimates in the report by Appalachian Voices.

Pennsylvania’s estimated liability is roughly identical to Kentucky’s, at $1.9 billion to $2.25 billion, although it has an advantage in that up to two-thirds of that liability is covered by bonds. Continue Reading →

Europe Plans Aggressive New Laws to Phase Out Fossil Fuels – by Somini Sengupta (New York Times – July 13, 2021)

European officials are preparing to introduce ambitious legislation designed to wean one of the world’s biggest and most polluting economies off fossil fuels far more quickly than other nations have pledged to do. The proposals could include phasing out coal as an electricity source as well as imposing tariffs on polluting imports — an idea with the potential to set off global trade disputes.

The European Commission’s package of around a dozen legislative proposals, expected on Wednesday, is designed to swiftly reduce the emissions of planet-warming gases and meet an ambitious climate goal, already enshrined in law: The 27-nation bloc has said it will cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

The legislation is expected to be in sharp contrast to vague aspirations by various other countries to neutralize their emissions by midcentury. “It’s not just a big promise,” said Jennifer Tollmann, a Berlin-based analyst for E3G, a research and advocacy group that works on climate policy. Continue Reading →

Black lung, a scourge of the past, still plagues Illinois mines – by Kari Lydersen (Energy News Network – July 14, 2021)


When Robert Cohen learned about black lung disease as a medical student, he assumed it was a relic of the past. “I thought it was something that happened in the times of Émile Zola” — whose 1885 book “Germinal” chronicled the horrors of France’s coal industry. “I didn’t think I’d see it in my practice.”

Almost four decades later, he still treats miners from downstate Illinois, their lungs scarred from breathing coal dust. They trek up to Chicago, sometimes looking out of place in the sleek hospital waiting room on Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast, where Cohen sees patients.

“The nurses love them, they are so down to earth,” said Cohen, who also founded a black lung clinic at Chicago’s public county hospital, serving miners from around the region, including many who had migrated to Chicago from Appalachia after mines there closed. Continue Reading →

Gas Is So Scarce in Europe That Coal Is Making a Comeback – by Vanessa Dezem, Jesper Starn and Isis Almeida (Bloomberg News – June 15, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Europe is so short of natural gas that the continent — usually seen as the poster child for the global fight against emissions — is turning to coal to meet electricity demand that is now back to pre-pandemic levels.

Coal usage in the continent jumped 10% to 15% this year after a colder- and longer-than-usual winter left gas storage sites depleted, said Andy Sommer, team leader of fundamental analysis and modeling at Swiss trader Axpo Solutions AG.

As economies reopen and people go back to the office, countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Poland turned to coal to keep the lights on. Continue Reading →

New Book Explores Appalachia’s Coal Mined Landscapes – by Robbie Harris (Radio IQ – July 8, 2021)

For more than a hundred years, coal from Appalachia helped power the nation and the world. But that’s changing as new forms of clean energy emerge. A new book documents the rise of coal and its eminent decline, when coal is no longer king.

Without coal, there might never have been an industrial revolution. But the new revolution in cleaner energy is clearly coming, so scientists from Virginia Tech and West Virginia University, set out to document everything they could find, regarding the coal economy of the past 2 centuries and a way of life that sustained communities.

“The title is, “Appalachia, Coal, Mined, Landscapes, Resources, and Communities in a New Energy Era.” Carl Zipper is professor emeritus in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginian Tech. Continue Reading →