Coal’s Unprecedented Collapse
|October 2, 2012||Posted by Jeffery J. Smith under Environmental|
Even Without Eco-Rights & Land Rights Enforced
<b>Coal</b>, the solid fossil fuel, is being undercut by the fossil fuel natural gas, not because gas is cleaner — it’s just cheaper.
by Clark Williams-Derry
The US Energy Information Administration released new numbers today, with shocking news for the coal industry: the nation’s electric utilities used 18 percent less coal in the first half of 2012 than they did in 2011, and 27 percent less than they did during the peak year, 2008.
In short, big coal companies are in the middle of a free-fall, and nobody’s sure when they’ll hit bottom.
So a drop of this magnitude is a proverbial “black swan“—an unforeseeable event with dramatic, world-changing consequences.
And if anything, coal’s collapse is accelerating: consumption slumped during the economic downturn in 2008 but dropped even faster during the recovery.
Coal’s troubles can mostly be traced to a single cause: a boom in natural gas.
The decline in natural gas prices can be traced to fracking — a production technique that carries substantial greenhouse emissions risks and contributes to other environmental problems as well.
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