Old King Coal Not Going “Gentle Into That Good Night”

Guest “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” by David Middleton

Note: Except for Rudyard Kipling, I don’t like poetry, especially Dylan Thomas. It’s jut that I’ve just seen Rodney Dangerfield’s Back to School a few dozen times and his recital of Do not go gentle into that good night is fracking hilarious!

This is great news for those of us who think as highly of “climate campaigners” as we do poets:

China’s coal production hit record levels in 2021

In blow to climate campaigners, state encourages miners to ramp up output to avert winter gas crisis

Jillian Ambrose
Mon 17 Jan 2022

China’s coal production reached record levels last year as the state encouraged miners to ramp up their fossil fuel output to safeguard the country’s energy supplies through the winter gas crisis.

The world’s biggest coal producer and consumer mined 384.67m tonnes of the fossil fuel last month, easily topping its previous record of 370.84m tonnes set in November, after the government called for miners to work at maximum capacity to help fuel the country’s economic growth.

Official government figures show that China’s coal binge also spurred the country to record high coal output over the year as a whole. Chinese coal production climbed to an all-time high of 4.07bn tonnes, up 4.7% on the previous year, in a blow to climate campaigners months after the UN’s Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow.


The Grauniad

Peak Coal… Bwahaha!

The good news isn’t limited to Asia

As coal use surges, America finds it’s hard to unplug from carbon

So much for the myriad claims about going “beyond coal.” According to a new report from the Rhodium Group, U.S. coal consumption jumped by 17 percent last year compared to 2020 levels. That’s a huge increase, which Rhodium says was “largely driven by a run-up in natural gas prices.” Rather than burn gas, which averaged about $4.93 per million Btu last year — more than two times the price in 2020 — many electricity producers chose to burn coal instead.

The surge in domestic coal use is significant for two reasons. First, it proves again that coal remains an essential fuel for electricity producers both here in the U.S. and around the world. Second, it shows that the Biden administration’s pledge to decarbonize the electric grid by 2035 is little more than wishful thinking.

Hate coal if it makes you happy, but the reality is that power producers have relied on it ever since Thomas Edison used it to fuel the world’s first central power plant in Lower Manhattan in 1882. Indeed, the jump in domestic consumption is part of a surge in global demand for coal, which still accounts for about 36 percent of global electricity generation.


While Asian countries account for the biggest share of global coal use — China alone uses more than half the world’s coal — the Iron Law of Electricity also applies to Europe and Japan. During the third quarter of 2021, coal’s share of Germany’s electricity mix increased by 5.5 percent over the same period in 2020. That increase was due, in part, to lower production from the country’s wind-energy sector. France, which usually gets about 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear plants, is also considering burning more coal to replace some of the juice that it was getting from several reactors that have been shut down for repairs. Meanwhile, Japan is planning to build some 21 coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of more than 12,000 megawatts over the next decade or so.


In short, it’s easy for politicians and climate activists to vilify hydrocarbons, hype renewables, and talk about quitting coal. But as the Rhodium Group’s report makes clear, economics matter. The U.S. and other countries aren’t going to suddenly quit using coal (or natural gas) to produce electricity because doing so would be too expensive.

I’ll end by making the same point I have been making for more than a decade: If policymakers are serious about decarbonizing the electric grid, they need to get serious about nuclear energy. And they need to do so now.

Robert Bryce is the host of the “Power Hungry Podcast,” co-producer of the documentary, “Juice: How Electricity Explains the World,” and the author of six books, including most recently, “A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations.” Follow him on Twitter @pwrhungry.

The Hill

From the Rhodium Group report:

Coal’s comeback

The electric power sector, which accounts for 28% of net US emissions, saw the second largest increase in GHG emissions from 2020 levels. In 2021, emissions increased 6% (95 million metric tons CO2e) above 2020 levels (Figure 2). Despite the bounce back from 2020, emissions remained 4% lower than 2019 levels.

With only modest growth in overall electric power demand in 2021 (up 3% from 2020), the more robust growth in power sector GHG emissions was due to a sharp rise in coal generation, jumping 17% in 2021. This marks the first annual increase in coal generation since 2014, according to the US Energy Information Administration (Figure 4).

Coal’s rebound was driven largely by a run-up in natural gas prices, with Henry Hub spot prices averaging $4.93 per million Btu in 2021, or more than double their 2020 rate. Prices rose as oil and gas producers ramped down new production in 2021 in response to the COVID oil price collapse and ensuing slow growth in demand. High natural gas prices made gas-fired generation less economical in 2021, leading to a 3% decline in gas generation in 2021, dropping gas’s share of overall generation back down to 37% (Figure 5). Renewables continued their growth in 2021, with generation rising 4% (about half the rate of renewables growth in 2020), reaching 20% of US electricity generation for the first time.

Preliminary US Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimates for 2021

Figures 4 & 5 from the Rhodium Group report:

The EIA actually described the above as “New renewable power plants are reducing U.S. electricity generation from natural gas“…

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook, January 2022

A quick dive into the STEO Data Browser demonstrates that, to the extent unreliable power sources are replacing anything, they are replacing reliable coal-fired power plants. The drop in natural gas-fired electricity generation in 2021 was due to high gas prices and increased utilization of existing coal-fired power plants.

According to the EIA’s 2021 International Energy Outlook almost all of the growth in electricity generation over the next 30 years will come from unreliable energy sources. However, Non-OECD nations will add as much reliable generation as OECD nations will take offline. The EIA projects that the world will generate just as much electricity from coal in 2050 as it did in 2010.

Old King Coal is not going “gentle Into that good night”… Right Rodney?

Also… If I offended any poets with this post…

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January 19, 2022 6:13 pm

Coal suffered when nat gas was cheap. Now coal is back in favour because nat gas has become more expensive. This shows the benefit of a competitive market. If our various governments got out of mandating and subsidising and picking winners (or should that be picking losers), and just left it to the mix in a fair market, a lot of energy systems would be operating a lot more effectively and delivering much cheaper energy.

It is still quite easy to get back to competitive markets, it’s just that our various governments have wasted a lot of time and a huge amount of our money that we won’t ever get back.

Randle Dewees
Reply to  David Middleton
January 19, 2022 7:16 pm

I was going to paraphrase your card sentiment into something that ended in “we are just dust in the wind, dude”. But it started becoming work, like when I had to write poems in the 8th grade, so naw.

Randle Dewees
Reply to  David Middleton
January 20, 2022 7:10 am

I was hoping you would tack this in


Old Retired Guy
Reply to  David Middleton
January 20, 2022 9:39 am

Just came across this and thought it might be worth publishing, though it’s beyond my technical knowledge.

Radiation Safety Journal – Health Physics

World Atmospheric CO2, Its 14C Specific Activity, Non-fossil Component, Anthropogenic Fossil Component, and Emissions (1750–2018)

After 1750 and the onset of the industrial revolution, the anthropogenic fossil component and the non-fossil component in the total atmospheric CO2 concentration, C(t), began to increase. Despite the lack of knowledge of these two components, claims that all or most of the increase in C(t)since 1800 has been due to the anthropogenic fossil component have continued since they began in 1960 with “Keeling Curve: Increase in CO2from burning fossil fuel.” … All results covering the period from 1750 through 2018 are listed in a table and plotted in figures. These results negate claims that the increase in C(t) since 1800 has been dominated by the increase of the anthropogenic fossil component. We determined that in 2018, atmospheric anthropogenic fossil CO2 represented 23% of the total emissions since 1750 with the remaining 77% in the exchange reservoirs. Our results show that the percentage of the total CO2 due to the use of fossil fuels from 1750 to 2018 increased from 0% in 1750 to 12% in 2018, much too low to be the cause of global warming.

Here is a link to the article: https://journals.lww.com/health-physics/fulltext/2022/02000/world_atmospheric_co2,_its_14c_specific_activity,.2.aspx

Reply to  Old Retired Guy
January 20, 2022 10:17 am

In order to believe that CO2 is the cause of all the warming since 1750, you have to believe that the first 20ppm increase in CO2 created 50% more warming than did the next 120ppm increase.

Last edited 1 year ago by MarkW
Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Mike Jonas
January 19, 2022 6:38 pm

Here in Alberta we only have 1200mw of coal generation left, but we didn’t destroy the thermal plants, we just converted them to burning gas.
Still have 1000 years of coal here and so when the fad passes it won’t be terribly hard to convert back to coal, unless we have built a bunch of nukes in the meantime, with all that wonderful uranium Resourses in the Shield next door in SK.

We should have cheap energy forever if we can just get past peak stupid

Steve Case
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
January 20, 2022 1:26 am

We should have cheap energy forever if we can just get past peak stupid

Good line if ever there was one, BUT it isn’t stupid that we are up against. Evil would be a better description. When the USSR ceased business in 1991 all those old Bolsheviks didn’t go gentle into the night.

There are all sorts of quotes from people in the seats of power that want to destroy western culture and capitalism, and they aren’t stupid.

Gregory Woods
Reply to  Steve Case
January 20, 2022 6:30 am

and they ain’t Russians…

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
January 20, 2022 3:06 am

…we only have 1200mw of coal generation left…

That’s much for a place the size of Alberta. Or did you perchance mean 1200Mw?

Only 9 orders of magnitude.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
January 20, 2022 4:16 am

Ha! You guys didn’t include Hot Air From Politicians in your schematics. That counts for something, doesn’t it??? 🙂

James Bull
Reply to  Mike Jonas
January 20, 2022 7:13 am

Indeed here in good old Blighty the nutters stopped us getting cheep gas so we’re now reliant on the good old Russians to keep warm.
Also if we can get the gas man to come fix the leaks.


James Bull

January 19, 2022 6:14 pm

Thanks, David. I enjoyed the post…yet another one that’s entertaining and educational.

Also, thanks for the two movie clips. They brought back old memories and made me laugh.


Reply to  David Middleton
January 19, 2022 7:01 pm

My favorite line in the whole movie is when his son says “Daddy daddy I want a candy bar” and the Judge says “you’ll get nothing and like it.”

My kids hated that line.

Reply to  Derg
January 19, 2022 7:33 pm

I just knew that Klaus Schwab is a plagiarist.

Reply to  Scissor
January 19, 2022 7:35 pm


Reply to  David Middleton
January 19, 2022 7:07 pm


It looks good on you though! – YouTube

Thanks, David….made me laugh again.


Reply to  David Middleton
January 20, 2022 6:45 am

Caddyshack was the most viewed movie during aircraft arrived cruises. Whole segments of the film were memorized and shouted out by several guys. Singing, farting, laughing, and quoting it was a fun time in the middle of an ocean surrounded by 5000 other guys.

Reply to  mkelly
January 20, 2022 6:52 am

Arrived should have been carrier.

January 19, 2022 6:15 pm

Cantering down a dark defile
Riding a rhyme with a crooked smile.

Reply to  David Middleton
January 19, 2022 6:28 pm

Hee haw!
‘radiant smile’ works better than ‘crooked smile’

H/t to the spirit of the escalator.

Reply to  David Middleton
January 19, 2022 6:33 pm

Darling Beth always liked my ‘Rage, rage against the lying and the fright.’ In reference to climate alarmism.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  kim
January 20, 2022 8:00 am

An excellent line! I’m going to steal it.

Patrick healy
Reply to  David Middleton
January 21, 2022 9:44 am

Tut tut Mr Middleton,
Is this old (four score last Tuesday) allowed t be a bad poet and a life long sceptic?


The global warming numpties
Just get more surreal each day,
As “scientists”here in Scotland
Try to wean our cows off hay;
They’ll stop them belching methane
Flatulating CO2
Remove their carbon hoof prints
’till we have the greenest Coo.

Our bovine friends contented
As they lie to chew their cud,
Not asked to save the planet
It is a mooot point if they could;
With farmers heavy burdens
Of legislation on their backs,
We all pay through our nostrils
With this Eco Cow logic tax.

As I sit and ruminate
About real scientists who demur,
They say cow made climate change
Is a lad of old manure;
No honest politician
Will stand and from the floor,
Call man made global warming
A nightmare of Albert Gore.

But not to worry this old gnarled poet is not offended.
If you found that boring, I might be a clone of our Griff – there are many more anti warming and anti Wuhan Flu like this in my output.

Patrick healy
Reply to  Patrick healy
January 21, 2022 9:46 am

A load of old manure – old fingers!

Tom Halla
January 19, 2022 6:18 pm

On pure economics, running as much coal fired electric generation as possible would be a good choice. All the downside is political.
Virtue signaling has an indeterminate price, depending on the fanaticism of those one is sucking up to, but it will eventually get too expensive to indulge.

January 19, 2022 6:23 pm

I think the fish should be swapped out with plant fossils in the graphic on U.S. electricity generation by source. The color for coal is not that representative either. A dark gray might be nice. 🙂

Reply to  David Middleton
January 19, 2022 7:31 pm

And natural gas is colorless. I wish I weren’t so anal sometimes.

Fish fossils in coal are very very rare. They’re somewhat common in sandstone and shale. 🙂

January 19, 2022 6:54 pm

And I thought your first line was going to be Rage Against the Machine.

Chris Hanley
January 19, 2022 7:29 pm

‘Caesar crosses the Rubicon’ is an example of the ‘historical present’ as often used in TV narratives and is supposed to ‘keep history alive’ but irritating IMO.
The IEA uses the present tense for its predictions as in: “renewable energy consumption more than doubles between 2020 and 2050, and renewable energy consumption nearly equals liquid fuels consumption by 2050”.
It is not only unprofessional but a propaganda technique, ‘the bandwagon’, used to convince readers that what they describe is inevitable rather than dependent solely on government policy and as current developments in UK and EU show is by no means inevitable.

January 19, 2022 9:20 pm

There have been a number of similar articles in economic publications
2022-2024 look like they will be standout years for coal

Ben Vorlich
January 19, 2022 10:23 pm

My mother had learnt many poems by heart in her childhood schooling. She would recite them instead of reading to us at bedtime. These were old fashioned poems not modern open verse.

My favourites were How Horatius Kept The Bridge from Lays of Ancient Rome, by Thomas Babington Macau lay. A lay being something different in the 19th century. Tam O’shanter by Burns, Barbara Frietchie by Whittier. But she knew many more.

As a result I like a lot of poetry, and also songs that tell a story, Marty Robbins being a favourite

It’s good we all like different things.

Reply to  David Middleton
January 20, 2022 6:50 am

My son is on a lake freighter so although a fan of Lightfoot I turn that off when it comes on.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  David Middleton
January 20, 2022 8:03 am

One of the finest ballads I’ve ever heard, or read for that matter.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
January 20, 2022 10:24 am

“Don’t Mess Around with Jim”, by Jim Croce.
For that matter, just about anything by Jim Croce.

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
and you don’t mess around with Jim

peter schell
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
January 20, 2022 7:54 pm

I loved Robert Service because of my Grandfather, who was not a very literate man. He was a barroom poet whose work was meant to entertain around a fire at the end of day. I learned several of his works by heart for my speech therapy in middle school.

The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill.
The Cremation of Sam McGee.
Athabasca Dick.

These three likely had the bar rolling on the floor with their last lines, but
his “Little Moccasin” likely reduced grown men to tears.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  peter schell
January 21, 2022 4:21 am

Sounds interesting. Do you have any links to the poems?

January 19, 2022 11:37 pm

If I offended any poets with this post…

Dylan T was an alcoholic poor quality excuse for a Welsh poet, who could neither speak Welsh nor understand cynghanedd.
It’s a great pity it’s how so many people imagine great poetry might be.

In English it was the 16th-17th centuries that has become the great reference, with great figures like WS and Donne.

Welsh poetry is a far superior art form to this day, and goes back 1000 years.

January 20, 2022 1:23 am

But still outside China new coal is getting cancelled and existing coal plant closes.

(I still have no idea what the Chinese will end up doing)

Reply to  griff
January 20, 2022 1:35 am

ROFL keep telling yourself that and one day it will come true 🙂

Last edited 1 year ago by LdB
Reply to  griff
January 20, 2022 2:08 am

Well if you legislate against something its no wonder people won’t build it. Coal or nuclear,

Doesnt prove anything more than green politicians are capable of destroying a country the same as any others.

Reply to  griff
January 20, 2022 5:07 am

WOW!¬ For the first time you said something true.
“You have no idea what the Chinese”, –

…just like you have no idea WTF is going on past your local English street corner coop or anyone else in the world for that matter…

It’s like your constant echo chamber about French nuclear or German grids, which you read about in the Grauniad or the BBC fake news factory.

Reply to  pigs_in_space
January 20, 2022 9:11 am

I read about the German grid on the BDEW website (or sites which report BDEW news).

There are multiple sources for the woes of French nuclear -and how they dump cheap power at times of low French demand

Reply to  griff
January 20, 2022 9:23 am

Griffter, wind dumps cheap power at times of low demand – when the wind is blowing. When the wind isn’t blowing, fossil fuels have to bail it out driving energy costs through the roof because you have to pay for fossil fuels and wind, even when wind isn’t producing anything. Like much of last year. How’s that working out for you, you numpty? On that score, nuclear is the clear winner, duh.

Reply to  Meab
January 20, 2022 10:28 am

griff is not big on cause and effect.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MarkW
January 21, 2022 4:25 am

Not big at all.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  griff
January 20, 2022 9:49 am

The French are not planning replacement of nuclear with nuclear but with wind and solar. The folly of this is evident in their current grid situation. For example over night the UK-France inter-connector sends electrons to France during the day they all come back.I assume the French replenish pumped storage.
Nuclear is down at 60% of demand, despite the investment in wind on 4.5GW of French electricity is from wind, UK 7.5GW so 12GW for the two countries with a total demand of 124GW Both countries are burning coal to produce 3.5GW.

Things can only get worse as nuclear in France is closed and the UK goes Net Zero electricity. Only someone who believes in fairies can think these plans will work.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  griff
January 20, 2022 8:10 am

Coal fired power generation in the world doubled from 2000 to 2020. (Carbon Brief)

China is increasing its coal fired generation at a pace of ~ 30GW pa.

India’s coal consumption is increasing at an average rate of ~3.9% pa and expected to have provided 74% of its power mix in 2021

PNL, Indonesia’s state owned electricity utility plans an additional 14-16GW coal based generation by 2030.

While Vietnam has increased its target for coal fired generation by 2030 to 40.7GW

Bangladesh has almost 5GW of coal fired generation under construction and coal consumption is expected to rise by ~65% by 2024

Global coal power generation is on course to have risen by 9% in 2021

All facts an figures from International Energy Agency’s recent publication Coal 2021


Reply to  griff
January 20, 2022 10:29 am

Once again griff actually believes what ever the politicians tell him to believe.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  griff
January 21, 2022 6:26 am

Thank you for confirming that Indonesia and Vietnam are going to fulfill their coal power plant building plans to 2030. You realise do you not that these new plants will have a 40 year or so life once they begin operating?

As regards Bangladesh the IEA report was published recently whereas your news report is 6 months old

Reply to  griff
January 20, 2022 10:27 am

Well that’s an improvement, just a few weeks ago griff was claiming that the Chinese had already abandoned coal.

All of Asia and Africa are building coal as fast as the can.
Only Europe, USA, Canada and Australia are committed to economic suicide.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MarkW
January 21, 2022 4:42 am

“All of Asia and Africa are building coal as fast as the can.
Only Europe, USA, Canada and Australia are committed to economic suicide.”

That’s what is happening. The CO2 reduction efforts of the nations committng economic suicide won’t make any difference to the amount of CO2 in the air. For every reduction the suiciders make in CO2, the sane nations of the world will increase their CO2 output.

The Suicider Nations are governed by imbeciles who don’t have a clue as to what they are doing or what the consequences will be. That describes the gullible. For those who do know what they are doing, and are just using the CO2 con for other purposes,destroying/changing beyond recogniction, their nation is the object.

Either way, the gullible path or the criminal path end with all of us in the ditch, having been driven there by these fools.

The one good thing we can say is cracks are starting to appear in the plans of the alarmists. We are coming to tipping points in many areas. It’s only a matter of time, imo. At some point, the public is going to see the folly of these CO2 reduction policies.

King Coal
Reply to  griff
January 20, 2022 11:46 am


Reply to  griff
January 20, 2022 12:15 pm

Griff,the first five words within parenthesis would have sufficed.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  griff
January 21, 2022 4:23 am

Griff says the glass is half full.

January 20, 2022 6:17 am

The Chinese make coal power stations where the coal burning part can be replaced in future by a modular nuclear reactor.

So coal but with a path to zero carbon built in. Smart technology and realistic for many countries.

King Coal
January 20, 2022 11:43 am

Great news – I love Carbon, coal and gas – it’s the future
plentiful, affordable, reliable energy – do the green blob care about the 930Mn people in the world who do not have access to electricity and all the wonders that brings?!

Last edited 1 year ago by King Coal
Tom Abbott
Reply to  King Coal
January 21, 2022 4:47 am

“do the green blob care about the 930Mn people in the world who do not have access to electricity and all the wonders that brings?!”

No, they obviously do not care about those people. Not only do they not care about those people, they don’t care about the people who have access to electricity as they want to take that away, too.

The Green Blob is not people friendly. People are the problem according to them. People with electricity, and people without electricity.

Walter Horsting
January 20, 2022 5:00 pm

Soros paid pennies on the dollar for 20% of US coal, after Obama bankrupted the US coal industries…

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Walter Horsting
January 21, 2022 5:05 am

Was that a savvy business move, or are you suggesting a conspiracy of some kind? I’m not defending Soros. I’m sure he is involved in all sorts of consipracies, but was just wondering if this was one of them.

Soros is the guy who is funding the latest crime wave in the United States by paying to get radical leftwing prosecutors elected who refuse to prosecute criminals and lock them up, and instead allow the criminals to roam the streets freely, doing what criminals do.

I think that “Three Stikes and you are Out” law needs to be implemented. You commit three felonies, and you go to jail for life. A lot of crime would be prevented that way.

This psycho who murdered a woman working in a furniture store, would not have been able to murder her if the three strikes law was in force. He would have been spending the rest of his life in jail because he had numerous felones. Instead, he’s roaming the streets murdering innocent people for no good reason. He didn’t even know the woman. A psycho, roaming our streets, and Soros has managed to put thousands of them on our streets now.

I think Soros should certainly be a subject of a congressional investigation when the Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in Jan. 2023.

The next congress is going to have a lot of investigatory work to do. There are many crimes to be investigated within and without the government.

I think Donald Trump would be the best man to do this as Speaker of the House. Trump will bring focus to the most serious problems. Trump will get to the bottom of things without political considerations. I’m not sure I can say that about any other Republican.

Trump isn’t obligated to anyone, so he can go where the evidence leads. I’m not sure McCarthy would push as hard as Trump would push. I know Trump would be successful. I don’t know if McCarthy would. Trump sees the Big Picture. I’m not sure anyone in government sees it better than him. Some are on his level, but not many. Few and far between.

We have a tremedous asset in Trump, despite his mean tweets. And maybe because of them. I like it when Trump tells the truth about radical Democrats. They think it is a mean tweet, but all he does is say the truth and they can’t stand the truth. I’ll take Trump all day long over those fools who are currently running our country.

Trump’s political rally last week is estimated to have attracted 55,000 people. His crowds are getting bigger, not smaller.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tom Abbott
James Bull
January 21, 2022 1:18 am

I’m sorry but the title picture reminds me of this from when the BBC (Big Brother Corporation as The Goons called it) did some good comedy.


James Bull

Tom Abbott
January 21, 2022 4:07 am

From the article: “it shows that the Biden administration’s pledge to decarbonize the electric grid by 2035 is little more than wishful thinking.”


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