Goodbye to a misguided war on coal

From The Washington Times


The unexpected departure of Dr. Jim Yong Kim as president of the World Bank gives President Donald J. Trump the perfect opportunity to reverse the anti-fossil fuel, energy poverty agenda the bank has pursued since Dr. Kim’s appointment by President Barack Obama in 2012.

The World Bank is the world’s premier development bank. Its knowledge of developing countries means that its participation is often essential to leverage private sector investment into some of the world’s poorest countries.

Rather than development, Dr. Kim saw the bank’s principal job as waging President Obama’s war on coal across the developing world. One of his first acts was instituting a ban on World Bank participation in any funding of new electrical generation projects using coal, other than in the most exceptional circumstances.

The United States is the bank’s largest funder, but Dr. Kim behaved as if Hillary Clinton had won Barack Obama’s third term in the 2016 presidential election. In no area was the policy rupture between the two administrations sharper than on energy, where Mr. Obama’s war on coal has been replaced by the Trump administration’s doctrine of American energy dominance.

Yet Dr. Kim decided to defy his host government and largest funder. At the December 2017 climate summit, France’s President Macron threw to celebrate the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement, Dr. Kim announced that the World Bank was extending its financing ban to upstream oil and gas. To cap it all, in October 2017 Dr. Kim said the bank would be withdrawing its support for its sole remaining coal project, a badly needed clean coal plant in Kosovo, a struggling country in the Balkans.

It’s not only that Dr. Kim misread the politics. On the fundamentals of what is good for developing countries’ economic development and human welfare, the Trump administration is right and Dr. Kim wrong. The centralized electrical grid is the single most beneficial innovation of the 20th century. In developed countries, it is what separates the 20th century from the 19th century.

It’s hardly surprising that FDR’s rural electrification program in the 1930s was one of the most popular and lasting parts of the New Deal. Rural farmers and small towns wanted all the benefits that only reliable, grid-connected electricity can provide and that city and suburban dwellers were already enjoying.

Read the full story here.

• Rupert Darwall is the author of “Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of the Climate Industrial Complex” (Encounter, 2017). Myron Ebell is director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment.

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January 23, 2019 6:14 am

“. One of his first acts was instituting a ban on World Bank participation in any funding of new electrical generation projects using coal,”

big whoopie

And China stepped in…financed it all…and we’re shut out….now all those countries are in debt to China

Bryan A
Reply to  Latitude
January 23, 2019 10:08 am


steve case
January 23, 2019 6:17 am
Flight Level
January 23, 2019 6:38 am

So they want to shutter meaningful use of coal.

While no green will ever discuss the opportunity to extinguish the numerous underground coal fires, reportedly more than 250 around the world, that burn valuable resources for nothing.

Even the uber-active German greens ignore the “Brennender Berg”, an underground coal fire in that burns since 1688 near Saarbrücken.

I have never heard of be it a single green effort to circumvent this untaxable source of CO2.

Reply to  Flight Level
January 23, 2019 7:51 am

Whenever I raise this I am met with blank stares or outright ridicule .. None of their approved talking points references this issue, so all they can do is turn on whomever attempts to discuss it.

You’d think it’d be the easiest source of CO2 for them to attempt to control (laugh) given everyone wants these fires extinguished.. they’d be met with support from everyone, but no -that would require them to actually do something.

Reply to  Flight Level
January 23, 2019 8:08 am

And the coal industry? Why doesn’t it do something? It appears to have been standing idle since 1688 on the matter….

Steve Keohane
Reply to  griff
January 23, 2019 8:25 am

We have a few coal seams in the area that have been burning for decades because they can’t be put out. Ignited by lightening, they have nothing to do with the coal industry. So you have no point as is usual.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  griff
January 23, 2019 9:22 am

Griff, lots of green bushes and trees.

What’s wrong.

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
January 23, 2019 10:10 am

It is difficult for any industry to to make headway in any political environment that stymies ther very attempts

Reply to  griff
January 23, 2019 10:46 am

Why do you believe it is the responsibility of the coal industry to put out a fire they didn’t start?

nw sage
Reply to  MarkW
January 23, 2019 6:22 pm

In/on property they don’t own / control / lease or have any interest in.

Reply to  griff
January 23, 2019 11:51 am

It happens with oil shales as well, and is just as difficult to put out, so you can blame the oil industry too, Griff.

Bryan A
Reply to  tty
January 23, 2019 12:10 pm
John F. Hultquist
Reply to  tty
January 23, 2019 12:42 pm

In fact, it is a much wider problem and not one that anyone knows how to solve.
For example, try putting out the fire under Los Angeles:

Jaap Titulaer
Reply to  griff
January 23, 2019 12:18 pm

Perhaps because it’s not their ‘berg’ …?

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  griff
January 24, 2019 2:51 am
Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Flight Level
January 23, 2019 8:20 am

An underground coal fire in the town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, has been burning since 1962.

But the Burning Mountain underground coal fire in Australia, has been burning for 6,000 years.

Read more here

adrian smits
Reply to  Flight Level
January 23, 2019 9:27 am

I wonder if dumping a whole bunch of co2 where these fires are burning could help extinguish them. could be a win win for everyone.

January 23, 2019 6:51 am

That looks like a picture of an excellent piece of energy efficient anthracite coal!

January 23, 2019 7:01 am

Adios Kim

The World won’t miss you

William Astley
January 23, 2019 7:22 am

Obama was/is Mr. Politically correct. Pushing CAGW and long speeches is more important than helping people which requires solutions that work at an engineering level as opposed to the green scams.

Regions of the world are crying/dying for electric power plants and law and order.

Cheap reliable (24/7) electricity = Coal fired power plants.

“Energy in Africa is a scarcer commodity than in the developed world – annual consumption is 518 KWh in Sub-Saharan Africa, the same amount of electricity used by an individual in an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD – example is the U.S.) country in 25 days.[8] More than 500 million people live without electricity. Across the continent only 10% of individuals have access to the electrical grid, and of those, 75% come from the richest two quintiles in overall income.[9] Less than 2% of the rural populations of Malawi, Ethiopia, Niger, and Chad have access to electrical power.[8] Electrical provisioning in Africa has generally only reached wealthy, urban middle class, and commercial sectors, bypassing the region’s large rural populations and urban poor.[8]

… Even in the areas covered by the electrical grid, power is often unreliable: the manufacturing sector loses power on average 56 days out of the year.[9] In Senegal power is out 25 days a year, in Tanzania 63 days, and in Burundi 144 days.[8] Frequent power outages cause damage to sales, equipment, and discourage international investment.[11] According to the periodical African Business, “Poor transport links and irregular power supplies have stunted the growth of domestic companies and discouraged foreign firms from setting up manufacturing plants in the continent.”[8]

“Poverty in Africa is the lack of provision to satisfy the basic human needs of certain people in Africa. African nations typically fall toward the bottom of any list measuring small size economic activity, such as income per capita or GDP per capita, despite a wealth of natural resources. In 2009, 22 of 24 nations identified as having “Low Human Development” on the United Nations’ (UN) Human Development Index were in Sub-Saharan Africa.[1]In 2006, 34 of the 50 nations on the UN list of least developed countries are in Africa.[2]

Reply to  William Astley
January 23, 2019 8:01 am

Even in the areas covered by the electrical grid, power is often unreliable

This is one of the reasons why focusing on only wage rates when discussing trade is meaningless.

Reply to  William Astley
January 23, 2019 8:12 pm

There is nothing about Obama that warrants the term “correct”, even when applied in a derogatory manner!

January 23, 2019 7:42 am

“Obama was/is Mr. Politically correct. Pushing CAGW and long speeches is more important than helping people which requires solutions that work at an engineering level as opposed to the green scams.” William Astley

Obama had that in common with Merkel, Macron, Trudeau, and UK and AUS Prime Ministers of both parties. Silly meaningless phrases justifying massive spending paid for by ever increasing taxation. If the government increases your basic cost of living it’s a tax even if it shows up on your utility bill.

In France they are reaping the whirlwind they sowed. It will come to other countries as well.

Crispin in Waterloo
January 23, 2019 8:20 am

Coal is the primary source of space heating and cooking energy for more than 120m families in Eurasia alone. Without it they will die before spring, because there is nothing else to burn that will warm the houses. A war on coal per se is immoral because of the misery and death it would cause of prosecution of it was successful. Fortunately it has not been so far.

Putting out underground fires and mine dump fires is a great idea because it preserves a finite resource that will be used until we all go nuclear, and add to that what we can get from atmospheric currents, sensible solar, tides and hydro. I won’t add using the heat differential between the surface and deep ocean but that has too been demonstrated to work.

Inane decisions by those not affected are the bane of the poor. For all intents and purposes, nuclear power is infinitely renewable. It is only knee-jerk opposition to it that prevents is solving the energy problem for all time. In the same way that steam power was opposed in its early days because of boiler explosions, opposition to nuclear power is based on manageable problems for which new inventions had solutions.

James R Clarke
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 23, 2019 9:56 am

“Inane decisions by those not affected are the bane of the poor.”

That statement implies that the decision makers are stupid. If only that were true. The decision makers are very intelligent and well educated. Their decisions are not inane. They are malicious! Their empty, sweet-sounding words can no longer cover up their crimes against humanity.

Bruce Cobb
January 23, 2019 8:46 am

The ball’s in Trump’s court. Let’s just hope he scores a goal for humanity, taking the advantage away from unaffordable unreliables, instead of being a sticky wicket and fumbling the ball. Hopefully, it’s all downhill from here.

January 23, 2019 9:33 am

Coal is stored solar energy.

Richard Wright
January 23, 2019 9:49 am

Joe Manchin for World Bank President

January 23, 2019 10:19 am

Nick Leeson for World Bank President.

Bryan A
January 23, 2019 10:23 am

Donald Trump for World Bank President

January 23, 2019 10:48 am

Me for World Bank President

Don’t laugh, even I would be better than the last guy, and I want to fly around in a private jet.

January 23, 2019 2:31 pm

Regarding underground fires, it should be easy to find the way oxygen is reaching these fires, and then to close off, or to put in CO2 gas to put them out.

Regarding the World Bank chairman, why h is sudden departure, was it a case of jump before he was sacked. After all if the USA provides the bulk of the funds, they should have some say in how the world bank then lends out its capital.


Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Michael
January 24, 2019 1:25 am

Underground coal seam fires make their own oxygen out of water. Because the area around the fire insulates it, there is (net) enough energy released so that the fire can continue as long as there is enough ground moisture.

As many a fire fighter has found to their chagrin, pumping water into a coal fire makes it worse unless you can pump in enough to cool the whole volume. That is often not possible.

The processes involved ‘airless combustion’ includes the water gas shift reaction and the oxidation of carbon.

In an above ground pile of duff coal, fires are quite frequent as within the pile air slowly oxidizes the surface of the dust. After a time the heat build-up is sufficient to trigger the water gas shift reaction and sustain a fire. Witbank, South Africa, experienced just such a mine dump fire that lasted for years – above ground. They were unable to extinguish it.

Brent Walker
January 23, 2019 8:12 pm

I wonder what influenced the appointment of Dr Jim Yong Kim? Russia has been the greatest benefactor of the war on coal, because of its expanding sales of gas to Western Europe to replace electricity produced by coal fired power stations. So I am wondering who was their “useful idiot”, Jim himself or the person who appointed him or could they have influenced the decision some other way?

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