Making Coal Great Again
It was a busy week at the coal-face.
On Monday, BP’s annual review of global energy trends showed that coal production dropped by record numbers in 2016.
Coal production fell off by 231 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe), a unit of energy common in the energy industry, roughly the equivalent of 6.2 percent of all coal on Earth.
As PopularMechanics.com reports, the decline was most prominent in two of the planet’s largest powers, the United States and China. The U.S, which elected a president dedicated to reviving the coal industry, saw production fall by 33 mtoe, an 8.8 percent fall in total usage. China, which is aggressively pursuing renewable energy, saw a drop off of 26 mtoe, a 1.6 percent change. The UK, which began a transition program to low carbon energy usage in 2009, more than halved its usage of coal, a 52.5 percent down to 12 mtoe, bringing it to its lowest levels in BP’s recorded history.
In a separate report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Friday, officials noted that U.S. coal consumption in 2016 — 677 million short tons — is the lowest figure since 1984.
Then, on Tuesday, President Trump proudly tweeted about the opening of the first new coal mine in recent memory…
‘First New Coal Mine of Trump Era Opens in Pennsylvania’ https://t.co/aIRllxNLQA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2017
Corsa Coal Company will operate the mine in Somerset County, Pa. – outside of Pittsburgh. Corsa CEO George Dethlefsen said the mine will be a boon to the struggling local economy. He praised Trump’s easing of regulations and encouragement for fossil fuel exploration. Dethlefsen told Leland Vittert that for the 70 positions available in the mine, 400 people applied.
“It’s a hard day’s work every day, but it’s worth it,” one miner said.
Vittert said the news contrasts with Hillary Clinton’s message that she would “put a lot of coal miners out of work.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who endorsed Clinton, joined the mine company in watching a video message from Trump commemorating the occasion.
And then on Thursday, we got Industrial Production data showing that Coal Mining Production is exploding…
Make Coal Great Again indeed… though of course the base effect may slow this exuberance dramatically.