In 2016, then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton vowed to put coal miners and companies “out of business.” Seeing how this turned out to be an immense political blunder, the former Secretary of State apologized profusely and claimed that her remarks were a “misstatement.” Were they, though? It is unlikely, considering that Democrats are doubling down on their crusade against the black sedimentary rock that is ostensibly fashionable again in the global energy markets.
Democrats Allergic to Coal
John Kerry, the special presidential envoy on climate matters, announced on Dec. 2 that the United States has joined a six-year-old climate pact called the Power Past Coal Alliance to abandon coal in the name of climate change. “To meet our goal of 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035, we need to phase out unabated coal,” Kerry stated. “We will be working to accelerate unabated coal phase-out across the world, building stronger economies and more resilient communities. The first step is to stop making the problem worse: stop building new unabated coal power plants.”
This was one of many shots fired at the coal industry.
Speaking at an event in Carlsbad, CA, in November 2022, President Joe Biden declared coal plants “all across America” would be shut down and replaced with solar and wind. He added that it is “cheaper to generate electricity from wind and solar than it is from coal and oil.” This immediately generated a response from Republicans, taking to X that “Joe Biden celebrates coal plant workers losing their jobs.” Indeed, a recent Department of Energy report unveiled enormous employment losses in the fossil fuel industry, like crude oil and coal, because of the administration’s policies.
This was not the first time that Biden spoke out against coal miners. During the 2020 election race, then-candidate Biden memefied the discussion by arguing that they could learn to code. “Anybody who can go down 300-3,000 feet in a mine sure as hell can learn how to program as well,” he told a New Hampshire audience. “But we don’t think of it that way. Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for God’s sake.”
But while Democrats are ostensibly ready to ditch coal, the American people appear to be more sensible, based on some polling data. This past summer, the Pew Research Center revealed a few interesting points of view from the public: Most Americans support prioritizing the development of renewable energy over fossil fuels, most are not prepared to stop using fossil fuels, and more than one-third say the United States should never stop using fossil fuels. Why not an “all of the above” option?
Now, what about some of these assertions? Are they factual, or should they be taken with a grain of salt?
Facts of Coal
First, are solar and wind cheaper than coal? Yes, because federal, state, and local governments are showering trillions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies on renewables. Additionally, the National Conference of State Legislatures conceded that “roughly half of the growth in U.S. renewable energy generation since the beginning of the 2000s can be attributed to state renewable energy requirements.” Could solar and wind survive without welfare? If something needs to be subsidized that much, then probably not.
Second, the United States is essentially outsourcing its coal pollution. Following the war in Ukraine, worldwide coal demand skyrocketed, caused by the globe’s green energy obsession. In 2021, for instance, US coal consumption surged 15%. Today, one-fifth of the domestic power grid is the result of coal. Moreover, coal demand in China and India rose by 25% and 14%, respectively. Because the United States imports many goods from China, including green-related products, the nation consumes products manufactured with the dirty rock.
Finally, as Liberty Nation has reported over the years, coal’s demise is inevitable. It was always going to die without government intervention. Indeed, there was a resuscitation in 2021 and 2022, with prices hitting record highs. Although they are still trading at their highest levels in a decade, the energy source’s monumental rally has come to a screeching halt.
Former President Donald Trump attempted to revive the sector in 2017 by removing stringent environmental rules and regulations. This resulted in higher production and an increase in exports. However, it was not enough to reinvigorate the coal country because the marketplace determined that it preferred natural gas, of which the United States is currently producing record amounts, though it lacks the necessary infrastructure to support the so-called bridge fuel. In a way, the shift from coal to natural gas was a repudiation of solar panels and windmills. Of course, private industry cannot ignore free money.
Let’s be honest: Coal had a great run. It was one of the most significant contributors to higher living standards across the Western world by providing humanity with an abundance of cheap energy. But rather than having a fossil fuel perish with dignity and thank it for extending the population with wealth, the green puritanism movement demands that taxpayers fund the left’s green infatuation. The truth is that renewables failed to support millions of households worldwide during the 2022-23 energy calamity. Instead, the coal kids were on the block with their friends in crude oil, and natural gas rescued families everywhere. Perhaps this year, a lump of coal in a Christmas stocking could serve as a memento rather than a loathsome gift for naughty behavior.