A Comeback For Coal?

Download Audio

With guest host Jane Clayson.

President Trump blasted the Paris climate accord as unfair to coal miners. Does abandoning the deal mean a boom for the coal industry?

Piles of coal rest at a facility along the Ohio River as seen from an adjacent street, Friday, April 7, 2017, in Cincinnati. (John Minchillo/AP)
Piles of coal rest at a facility along the Ohio River as seen from an adjacent street, Friday, April 7, 2017, in Cincinnati. (John Minchillo/AP)

When President Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord, much of the world jeered, but coal country cheered. Trump was making good on a campaign promise to put American coal miners back to work. But with or without Paris, coal is losing out to much cheaper natural gas and a booming renewable energy industry. Solar companies already employ twice as many workers as coal. This hour On Point: Trump embraces Pittsburgh over Paris, but that doesn't mean coal is coming back.


Tim Loh, energy reporter for Bloomberg News who covers the coal industry. (@TimLoh)

Heath Lovell, vice president of public affairs at Alliance Coal, a publicly traded coal company in Kentucky. Spokesperson for the Kentucky Coal Alliance.

Jason Bordoff, founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. Former special assistant to President Obama and senior director for energy and climate change on the staff of the National Security Council. An author of the April 2017 report “Can Coal Make a Comeback?” (@JasonBordoff)

From The Reading List

Bloomberg: Coal Isn't Coming Back, Even With Trump Leaving the Paris Accord — "In announcing his withdrawal from the international pact to fight global warming, Trump touted mines opening in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia and said the Paris accord would’ve been a near extinction-level event for such operations. To be sure, a handful of new mines have surfaced in Appalachia, but they’re primarily the kind used to supply steelmakers, not polluting power plants. And by the end of last year, the nation’s mines still totaled one-seventh of what they were in the 1970s."

Wall Street Journal: Why Environmental Regulations Can’t Compete With the Market -- "In reality, however, the outlook for U.S. energy production will be determined far more by market forces than by rolling back environmental regulations. Consider the outlook for coal. In signing an executive order to ease environmental rules, President Trump told coal miners, 'You’re going back to work.' But undoing rules like the Clean Power Plan will not bring the coal jobs back, as a recent study I coauthored demonstrated."

CNN: Female coal miners react to Trump's decision on climate deal — "They are four female coal miners and they each voted for President Trump based on one issue: bringing coal jobs back to the U.S. Gathering at a park in Gillette, Wyoming, the women said they still support the president but they are divided over his decision to pull out of the Paris Climate accord."

This program aired on June 8, 2017.


More from On Point

Listen Live