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article imageOp-Ed: Trump praises the coal sector as he destroys the Paris Accord

By Karen Graham     Jun 3, 2017 in Politics
President Trump's announcement on Thursday that the U.S. was pulling out of the Paris climate pact hit the global community like a sledgehammer, and the reverberations are still being felt today. At least he made the coal sector happy.
At least four of the five largest coal companies in the United States supported President Trump's move to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement on Thursday. They have backed Trump all along, believing that remaining in the Paris Agreement would have negatively impacted the U.S. economy.
Of course, as an energy industry that has fallen on hard times, the coal sector has been impacted negatively, but not by the climate accord. What many people, and particularly died-in-the-wool Trump supporters don't want to admit, is the coal industry has been declining for a number of years, dating back well before the climate pact was enacted.
According to ABC News, Peabody Energy Corp, the largest coal producer in the United States, said in a statement: "We believe that abiding by the accord, without significant changes, would have substantially impacted the U.S. economy, increased electricity costs and required the power sector to rely on less diverse and more intermittent energy."
View into the Eagle Butte coal mine in Gillette  in Wyoming s Powder River Basin. The open-pit  truc...
View into the Eagle Butte coal mine in Gillette, in Wyoming's Powder River Basin. The open-pit "truck and shovel" mine produces low-sulfur, sub-bituminous coal from the vast Roland and Smith seams. Library of Congress: Catalog:
Carol M. Highsmith
Arch Coal, the country's second-largest coal producer said Trump is a "tremendous advocate for coal and its essential role in America’s future energy mix, and we support the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement."
According to information released by the WHITE HOUSE: The Paris climate accord “would effectively decapitate our coal industry, which now supplies about one-third of our electric power.”
It is difficult to overlook or deny the facts, folks. Statistics and data on the fossil fuel industry in the United States aren't made up to push anyone's agenda, they are real. In February, Digital Journal reported "natural gas and renewable energy sources made up nearly half of all electricity production in the nation in 2016, up from 38 percent in 2011. Coal has lagged behind at 30 percent, the lowest it has been in 70 years when officials started keeping records."
The decline in the use of coal for our energy needs can be blamed on liquid natural gas (LNG) and not the Paris Agreement. Not only is it cleaner, but it is cheaper all the way around. As an added benefit to the surge in LNG use, greenhouse gas emissions plunged to a 25 year low in 2016.
File photo: LNG - Liquefied Natural Gas tank.
File photo: LNG - Liquefied Natural Gas tank.
LNG - Resources and Education
And as far as putting an economic burden on the U.S., that was done by our own government and not by our signing the accord. Trump failed to mention that each country signing the accord was left to devise its own emission goals and how to reach them. The Paris accord does not tell any country how much they have to spend or what goals they must reach — This is left up to the government of each nation.
And here is a bit of irony — While Trump is touting the comeback of the coal industry and the jobs he is responsible for creating, three coal-fired power plants are being shut down. Two New Jersey plants are being closed, one in Jersey City and the other near Trenton. They are operated by PSEG Power, a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group, the state’s largest energy provider.
In Massachusetts, the Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset closed. It is the last coal-fired power plant in the state, as well as the largest in New England. All three plants were built in the 1960s, and while operating, they faced innumerable protests and lawsuits from environmentalists, but in the end, they had to close because they were just too costly to operate.
Coal stockpiles are maintained by a CAT D-10T dozer at the Kayenta Coal Mine.
Coal stockpiles are maintained by a CAT D-10T dozer at the Kayenta Coal Mine.
Peabody Energy, Inc.
And speaking of new coal mines, the president was ecstatic on Thursday, pointing to the "opening of a brand-new mine." He even said he was invited to its opening, but failed to mention where it was located. CNN found out it is a coal mine in Western Pennsylvania set to open June 8.
Corsa Coal confirmed to CNNMoney that the Acosta Coal Mine is opening June 8 and the president is invited. The mine will employ 70 to 100 miners and will produce coal used in steel-making. The thing is, the Acosta mine and a few others set to open produce metallurgical coal, and this is not thermal coal used to produce electricity.
And while the coal companies are touting Trump as making a wise choice, they will sit on their huge coal reserves, enough to last them another 15 years or more, waiting in vain for the collapse of natural gas and renewable energy.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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