King Coal: Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated (apologies to Mark Twain)

Reposted from Forbes

Tilak Doshi | Contributor
I analyze energy economics and related public policy issues.

President Biden said recently that “we’re going to be shutting [coal] plants down all across America and having wind and solar.” West Virginia’s Democrat Senator Joe Manchin, representing a state that gets 90% of its electricity from coal, scathingly called Biden’s comments “outrageous … offensive and disgusting” which “ignore the severe economic pain the American people are feeling because of rising energy costs”. Senator Manchin had extended legislative support for President Biden’s so-called “Inflation Reduction Act”, laden with pork for wind and solar, in return for a “nebulous ‘deal’ with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to pursue the passage of language designed to streamline federal energy permitting processes”.

But the bottom line remains in Senator Manchin’s favor, even if he was played by the Democrat establishment: King Coal is making a comeback all around the world. West Virginia’s coal miners may well lose their livelihoods to the renewable energy diktats of the progressive Green Democrats in charge at Washington D.C. but King Coal runs supreme where it matters. After decades of energy policies in the West which sought to eliminate coal use in the global economy, it seems that King Coal is living through a 2nd Renaissance.

Asia Leads: Making A Comeback

Obituaries for coal have been announced ad nauseam, most recently at last year’s UN climate change COP26 summit in Edinburgh. Yet we saw the eight-fold price surge in coal since September 2020 to over $430 per ton two years later from prices that ranged between $50 – $150 a ton through the past decade. This was led by a resurgence of demand after the pandemic lockdowns – especially in China and India, the world’s two largest coal consumers accounting for two-thirds of the world total — but also in Japan, South Korea, Europe and the US.

According to the BP statistical review, global electricity demand, which grew at an average of 2.5% in the decade to 2021, expanded by 6.2% in 2021. In Asia, electricity demand grew even faster at 8.4%. Global coal power generation, the world’s biggest fuel source of electricity, set a record in 2021. While it grew at 1.2% annually over the past decade, it surged by 8.8% in 2021 over the previous year. The trends suggest that coal will be enjoying at least a few more bumper years yet.

After droughts and heatwaves led to power shortages in China and India last year, both countries have accelerated the building of coal mining and coal power generating plants despite climate policy ‘commitments’ for attaining net zero emission targets by 2060 and 2070 respectively. China is expected to approve 270GW of new coal power plants by 2025, larger than the entire US coal fleet. At the COP27 summit in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, India’s coal minister Pralhad Joshi said that coal will play an important role “until at least 2040 and beyond”. He continued, “Thus, no transition away from coal is happening in the foreseeable future in India”.

At last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, it was no surprise that India, China and several other developing countries created a last-minute objection to language that called for the “phase out” of coal. To the emotional regret expressed by a tearful Alok Sharma, host and President of COP26, the final text of the Glasgow Agreement called only for the “phase down” of coal. At the COP27 negotiations just concluded in Sharm El Sheikh, India demanded that coal not be “singled out” in the final agreement and that “all fossil fuels” be treated as equals.

It is apparent that neither China nor India – in common with many other developing countries dependent on coal — will compromise on energy security and economic growth objectives, least of all during globally turbulent times in the wake of the pandemic lockdowns and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Europe Lags: Back To The Past

While the juggernaut of Asian coal demand will roll on for a few more decades at least, coal’s comeback is even more remarkable in Europe. This is the same Green Europe that boasted of its dismantling of coal and nuclear power plants while imposing financial embargoes on multi-lateral development agencies such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for fossil fuel development in developing countries.

Let’s start with Germany, the epicenter of Green Europe. Among the more recent energy news headlines in that country is this one: “Germany dismantles wind farm to expand coal mine”. And another one is on “Germany Re-Opens Five Lignite-Fired Power Plants”. Readers might note that lignite coal is about the dirtiest form of fossil fuel to generate electricity from, but we live in strange times.

At the end of June, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition gave the green light to restart 27 coal-fired power plants until March 2024. That is quite a turnaround for a country that shunned all fossil fuels for the last three decades, shutting down its nuclear plants after the Fukushima incident as well as its coal and natural gas plants for their high carbon footprints.

Heavy dependence on Russian piped natural gas prior to the Russian sanctions — up to 60% of total gas demand — did not register on Germany’s “carbon sin” audit books, so that was fine. So long as Germany was not dependent on European-origin fossil fuels – God forbid depending on your own fracked gas or on North Sea oil and gas – it passed the “fighting climate change” virtue test. But Russian gas supplies progressively shrunk, as the EU sanctioned itself from Russian gas after President Putin ordered Russian tanks into Ukraine in late February. First were the blockages by Gazprom, on some technical ground or another, and then the sabotage of both Nordstream pipelines in mid-October which led to a de facto cutoff of Germany and Europe from the bulk of Russian gas supplies.

While unsuccessfully seeking quick replacements of natural gas imports from Canada to Qatar, Germany faces the prospects of a winter with mandatory gas rationing for households, even planning for fuelwood for home heating. It is already witnessing the decimation of German energy-intensive industry from petrochemicals to wood, paper, glass, aluminum and steel.

In the EU, Austria, France, Italy and the Netherlands have announced plans to extend or restart coal power plants to survive winter. Like Germany, these countries see the move back to coal as “temporary”, to avoid blackouts, unemployment and mass unrests during winter as recession strikes. Putting a fig leaf on the energy crisis brought about by Europe’s quixotic green policies, an energy analyst at the European think tank Bruegel cast this choice as “very occasional, for one or two winters at the most, and in small doses.” Yet it is hardly plausible to suggest that Europe’s energy crisis will be sorted out in a couple of years: the Financial Times, for instance, warns that the crisis will “linger for years”.

King Coal’s Strengths

Coal is one of the most energy-dense fuels of nature formed from deposits of animal and vegetable matter deep in the ground at conditions of high pressure over a few hundred million years ago. To illustrate coal’s energy density, a Tesla battery that weighs over 500kg and takes 25-50 tons (i.e. thousand kgs) of minerals to be mined, processed, and transported, can store the same energy as a mere 30kg of coal.

Via the Industrial Revolution, coal brought forth the trains, steamships and factories of the modern age, though British coal had been used in antiquity by the Romans for iron foundries and heating bathhouses. From the almost complete dependence on traditional biomass (wood, charcoal, dung, straw, etc.) prior to 1800, it took coal a century to account for half of global primary energy consumption. Energy transitions take an awful long time, as the work of Vaclav Smil has exhaustively surveyed.

Last month, Jeff Currie, Goldman Sachs’ Head of Commodities Research, provided testimony to this, stating in an interview: “At the end of last year, overall fossil fuels represented 81% of energy consumption. 10 years ago, they were at 82%…$3.8 trillion of investment in renewables moved fossil fuels from 82% to 81% of the overall energy consumption.” It is apparent that renewable energy is not going anywhere fast.

But perhaps the least appreciated aspect of coal-based energy is its geopolitical significance. Often considered a “non-political” fuel, coal is the most abundant energy resource known. It is relatively cheap to mine, transport, and store. Its presence in considerable quantities in populous countries such as China, India, Indonesia and South Africa – apart from the resource-rich countries of the U.S., Russia and Australia – makes the fuel of vital significance from an energy security perspective. The same populous countries are otherwise starved of the other fossil fuels – oil and natural gas – which are a major burden on their balance of payments.

Ambient air pollution in both urban and rural areas in developing countries is a major public health problem but ‘belching’ coal power plants are not the major cause as commonly thought. It is primarily due to the indoor burning of solid biomass in cooking and heating. An estimated 30% of the global population does not yet have access to clean cooking technologies. The World Health Organisation reports that close to 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to indoor air pollution each year. The use of fuel wood, dung and crop residues within households is caused by the lack of access to cheap, coal-based grid electricity and modern fuels such as LPG.

Long vilified for being the dirtiest of the fossil fuels, coal is to the contrary a modern technology-success story. Key pollutants from coal combustion in power generation plants have fallen dramatically with technological improvements over the past several decades with the development of ultra-supercritical, high efficiency and low emission plants. These have drastically reduced emissions of pollutants that adversely affect human health which include carbon monoxide, lead, sulfur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOX), ground level ozone and particulate matter (PM). A new pulverized coal plant with flue gas scrubbers, fabric filters, catalytic reduction and other control equipment and processes, reduces NOX by 83%, SO2 by 98% and PM by 99.8% compared to a similar plant without such pollution control features, according to the US Department of Energy.

Long Live King Coal

The climate industrial complex has long vilified fossil fuels in the name of a presumed impending climate apocalypse. It deprived the oil, gas and coal sectors of capital investments and diverted trillions of dollars of public funds to subsidize wind, solar and electric vehicle industries. Due to coal’s relatively high carbon-dioxide emissions upon combustion, the fuel has been cast as arch-villain by the climate alarmists. Yet it falls upon King Coal to continue serving the basic needs of over three quarters of the planet’s population. It is hardly likely that policy makers in China, India and the other populous countries of Southeast Asia and Africa will forsake the fuel and risk the well-being of their aspiring citizens on the urgings of Western climate ideologues.

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The author would like to thank Dr. Lars Schernikau, commodity trader and energy economist, for his coal market contribution to this article. 

Tilak Doshi
I have worked in the oil and gas sector as an economist in both private industry and in think tanks, in Asia, the Middle East and the US over the past 25 years. I focus on global energy developments from the perspective of Asian countries that remain large markets for oil, gas and coal. I have written extensively on the areas of economic development, environment and energy economics. My publications include “Singapore in a Post-Kyoto World: Energy, Environment and the Economy” published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (2015). I won the 1984 Robert S. McNamara Research Fellow award of the World Bank and received my Ph.D. in Economics in 1992.

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johnesm
December 3, 2022 10:55 pm

Here in Colorado they tried experimenting with electric busses this past summer. It didn’t go well then, and now that we’re getting temperatures in the single digits Fahrenheit, I haven’t seen one. We are shutting down coal plants for general power production in favor of natural gas, which is plentiful in Colorado and Wyoming, but is easier to transport. Coal is still logical in areas. But wind and solar are not, not even in places like the western US where you would think it would be. Natural gas and nuclear are the way to go…

Allan MacRae
Reply to  johnesm
December 4, 2022 4:21 am

In Alberta our local politicians have spent billions to convert all our coal-fired power plants to natural gas (the last one is under conversion now). I suspect this was another costly error in energy policy, because:
Intelligent people know that increasing atmospheric CO2 is NOT a problem, it is a benefit for crop growth.
Our Alberta coal is low sulfur.
Our coal plants have baghouses that adequately control particulates.
Air pollution in Alberta is dominated by fires from poorly managed BC forests – in comparison, coal plant air pollution barely exists.
Coal is a consistent low-cost feedstock, whereas natural gas prices have more than tripled in a short time.

Premier Ralph Klein’s big error was electricity deregulation, which added additions costs including greater administration costs to household bills. Our energy costs have hugely increased, with no benefit. An electrical energy expert approached me and described his concerns, I published an article in the Calgary Herald that warned the government of their impending deregulation debacle, but they proceeded anyway.

Most politicians are energy imbeciles – consistently, they could not be more wrong.

Given the worldwide human catastrophes caused by green energy policies, I think we should establish a law that politicians are not allowed to even mention energy and are definitely not allowed to opine on it or formulate energy policy.

Penalties should be ten years imprisonment for the first offense and life for a second.
That sounds excessive, but if you realized how many millions of lives have been squandered by green energy policies, many would find these penalties entirely appropriate.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Allan MacRae
December 4, 2022 6:42 am

‘Premier Ralph Klein’s big error was electricity deregulation, which added additions costs including greater administration costs to household bills.‘

Real deregulation, i.e., reducing government constraints on the private sector, shouldn’t result in higher costs to the consumer. Details please.

Allan MacRae
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
December 4, 2022 10:49 am

Frank – here is the huge increase in retail electricity prices in Alberta in the last 20+ years. From 6 cents/kWh to 24 cents recently.
Historical Alberta Fixed & Floating Rate Prices – EnergyRates.ca
If you can find an Alberta electricity cost chart that starts earlier, circa 1980 that would be helpful.

You can speculate why, but I’ve already given you some of the answers.
Also, our transmission and distribution lines were privatized – many were reportedly owned by our governments and sold to investors who then charged us for infrastructure that we the public previously owned.
The politicians then took these sales proceeds and wasted them on their idiot pet projects.

Politicians did intervene to change power plant feedstock from coal to natural gas – I think that drove much of the cost increase.

Your “free enterprise” argument is a good one and often works, but “not so much” in this case. You can figure out why.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Allan MacRae
December 4, 2022 12:32 pm

From 6 cents/kWh to 24 cents recently.”

Are the numbers in constant cents or reflecting inflation.
What did a loaf of bread cost 20 years ago? And now?

24 cents is about twice what I pay in central Washington State.

MarkW
Reply to  Allan MacRae
December 4, 2022 12:58 pm

In other words, you don’t know why, but you assume that it must have been deregulation.

Allan MacRae
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 9:19 pm

BS

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Allan MacRae
December 4, 2022 1:01 pm

Allan,

For the last 12 months, my utility has been charging 12 cts / kWh for energy. For the 12 months prior, it was 6 cts / kWh. Starting Jan 1, the standard offered service rate will be 24 cts / kWh, at least until June 2023, resulting in our switching to an alternative supplier. As we are already ‘deregulated’, this is all likely due to rising nat gas costs since Biden came into office. In other words, nothing to do with free markets.

Allan MacRae
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
December 4, 2022 9:22 pm

If our politicians had just left everything alone, our costs would still be close to 6 cents, not 24. Maybe 8-10 cents max.
There is almost nothing modern woke politicians can touch without making it worse.

Frizzy
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
December 4, 2022 11:12 pm

Wow, Frank, I don’t know where you live in NoVa but I’ve been living here for 40 years now and I don’t ever recall 6¢ per kWh, at least with NoVEC. I’m looking at my 1/18/2005 bill and it shows that 18 years ago I was paying 7.24¢/kWh for the supply and 2.6¢/kWh for distribution for a total of 9.84¢/kWh. Last month my bill was 10.68¢/kWh supply + 1.76¢/kWh distribution (cost actually went down) for a total of 12.44¢/kWh. That’s a 26% increase over 18 years which, like John Hultquist suggested, didn’t even keep up with inflation over that time frame. Then again, NoVEC is a non-profit cooperative so we pay pretty much exactly what the electricity costs.

Allan MacRae
Reply to  Frizzy
December 5, 2022 12:25 am

Presume you generate your electric power from coal?
Virginia?

Frizzy
Reply to  Allan MacRae
December 5, 2022 7:32 am

Actually, in 2021 (the last year they have stats for) NoVEC only got 21% from coal. The rest is 36% gas, 31% nuclear, 11% from renewable (biomass and hydro), and 1% oil.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Frizzy
December 5, 2022 10:32 am

Frizzy, I’m ‘from’ NoVA, not currently there. Looking again at my bills, we were paying 8 cts and 7 cts / kWh for energy during 1H and 2H 2021, respectively.

Allan MacRae
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
December 5, 2022 7:08 am

Your wild jumps in power price from 12cents to 6 to 24 have everything to do with free markets – some of that does sound like varying gas prices but that is still an unusual range.

I will grant you this – real deregulations rarely happens, because ignorant politicians cannot keep out of it – they are always screwing up. I believe the sensible path in Alberta was to keep our coal plants running and NOT convert them to gas to satisfy some ignorant pricks who were afraid of CO2 – Virtue signaling that cost us many billions and hurt our competitiveness.

Tomsa
Reply to  Allan MacRae
December 5, 2022 8:58 am

Wow Allan, I didn’t realise that AB electric prices had skyrocketed like that. We here in MB fortunately are blessed with hydro. We’ve closed the last of our coal plants, have two small wind farms which contribute maybe 2% of our electric production, with 97% coming from hydro, and we are able to help out the US, SK, and ON. That keeps our household rate still under 10 cents/kwh.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Allan MacRae
December 5, 2022 11:06 am

Yeah, from 8cts to 6cts to 12cts and soon to be 24cts all reflects the cost of the generation blocks (probably with gas on the margin) that the utility was / is / will be able to contract for in support of their ‘standard offer service’. For the foreseeable future, we’ve opted for a much cheaper energy supplier, which is one of the benefits of deregulation. Still stuck with high rates for the ‘wires’ portion of the bill, though, which is where the politicos sitting on the public service commission hide all the mandatory green nonsense.

Last edited 2 months ago by Frank from NoVA
roaddog
Reply to  Allan MacRae
December 4, 2022 2:35 pm

No circus has a tent large enough to hold all the clowns in Canadian government. That Alberta and Saskatchewan are permitting Ottawa to outright destroy their economies and the prosperity of their citizens is simply criminal. Some signs of resistance the past week or two, but I expect the withdrawal of the prairie provinces is necessary to actually ensure the survival of the wonderful citizens of those lands.

Allan MacRae
Reply to  roaddog
December 5, 2022 12:23 am

I would support that withdrawal. Through federal “transfer payments”, the average Alberta family-of-four has been forced to give $1 million since 1961 to the Rest-of-Canada. It was supposed to be a hand-up but has become a hand-out, enabling other parts of the country to essentially live on pogey – working only 13 weeks per year and taking 39 weeks off on “unemployment insurance” – that adds to 52 weeks and then they do it all over again. It totals about a trillion dollars (with nominal interest) from our province of only about 4 million hard-working people and it just enables sloth.

ResourceGuy
Reply to  Allan MacRae
December 5, 2022 10:58 am

“Most politicians are energy imbeciles – consistently, they could not be more wrong.”

That is nowhere truer than at the doorstep of Edward Markey.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 5, 2022 3:23 pm

Markey and Warren – what a combo!!

Graham
Reply to  Allan MacRae
December 7, 2022 6:40 pm

I agree with what you have written above but with just one adjustment.
You say .” Most politicians are energy imbeciles -”
I would say that all green left leaning politicians are imbeciles .
They have swallowed the bait and are completely hooked on zero carbon energy .
They are in dream land and will destroy their countries economies by strangling their industry and agriculture because of with lack of affordable energy .
If they really believed that CO2 was going to warm the world they would be advocating for Nuclear.
Does anyone here disagree ?

Allan MacRae
Reply to  Graham
December 8, 2022 7:35 pm

Yes Graham, but it’s more than that.

I KNEW, based on my Engineering-and-Earth-Sciences education, that the CAGW/Green-Energy narrative was false when I first heard of it in 1985. I studied the subject for 17 years and wrote my first paper on the subject in 2002.
 
Our Climate-and-Energy predictions published in 2002 are, to my knowledge, the earliest and most accurate anywhere. We wrote then that the was no real catastrophic human-made global warming crisis, green energy was not green and produced little useful (dispatchable) energy, and natural solar-drive global cooling would start circa 2020 – and all are demonstrated to be correct now.

See CorrectPredictions.ca
 
We’ve been submerged in green falsehoods for decades at a cost of trillions of dollars and millions of lives, especially in the developing world. Our accurate predictions of food-and-energy shortages, price inflation and crop failures due to natural global cooling are now happening, and will cause even more suffering and loss of life.
 
Meanwhile our politicians move at the speed of dark – once a false idea gets lodged in their thick heads, nothing short of brain surgery will dislodge it. We are governed by scoundrels and imbeciles. 

MarkW
Reply to  johnesm
December 4, 2022 6:51 am

Another advantage to coal is that it can be stored on site. You can easily have several weeks worth of coal piled up near a power plant.
Gas on the other hand is difficult to store in large quantities.

There is no such thing as losing power because of supply disruptions when you rely on coal.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 8:38 am

Which is exactly why coal should be used for base load electric generation, especially in the US, which is the “Saudi Arabia of Coal.”

Rich Davis
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 10:13 am

And if you think about, with massive deposits of coal being an advantage for the hated United States, it only makes sense that the mostly European Green Socialists and their fellow traveler homegrown traitors fixated on demonizing it.

roaddog
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 2:36 pm

And a significant factor in why I plan to convert my home heating system to coal.

Rich Davis
Reply to  johnesm
December 4, 2022 10:29 am

Natural gas and nuclear are the way to go…

If you buy into the idea that the Gas of Life is a problem, I suppose.

I favor using the lowest cost sources of energy with as much diversification as practical to avoid disruptions. Nuclear used to be very cost effective until the Green Socialists harnessed the Deep State to smother it with excessive regulatory punishments.

Last edited 2 months ago by Rich Davis
Editor
Reply to  johnesm
December 4, 2022 12:00 pm

Coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydro are the way to go.

Bob Meyer
Reply to  Mike Jonas
December 4, 2022 11:56 pm

Eliminate all subsidies and let the market decide. Regulate for safety against known, established dangers, not climate model projections.

pigs_in_space
December 3, 2022 11:23 pm

You quickly forget Coal produces more free radioactive isotopes in the environment than any NPP will ever do.

“At one extreme, the scientists estimated fly ash radiation in individuals’ bones at around 18 millirems (thousandths of a rem, a unit for measuring doses of ionizing radiation) a year.

Doses for the two nuclear plants, by contrast, ranged from between three and six millirems for the same period. And when all food was grown in the area, radiation doses were 50 to 200 percent higher around the coal plants.”

To put these numbers in perspective, the average person encounters 360 millirems of annual “background radiation” from natural and man-made sources, including substances in Earth’s crust, cosmic rays, residue from nuclear tests and smoke detectors.

However The fly ash concentrating uranium and thorium etc from those coal fired power stations is then used for making concrete for industrial and domestic projects.

One airport I measured (Poland) had higher radiation sitting on the ground ready to take off than any other source right up to 5000m altitude.

Ron Long
Reply to  pigs_in_space
December 4, 2022 2:10 am

The U S Nuclear Regulatory Commission has established 300 mrem as the average human annual exposure, and 600 mrem as the totally safe level. Safe? The Commission also establishes 5,000 mrem as the maximum annual allowable exposure for workers around radioactive sources. How about Banana Dose Equivalent? Your concerns are not based on actual science. I am a past CEO of a Uranium company, was trained on radiation safety, have my own two tube Geiger Muller counter, and am an Official Attendee at an IAEA Redbook event. Compare 19 mrem to freezing in the cold winter? King Coal!

Scissor
Reply to  Ron Long
December 4, 2022 6:35 am

You are correct.

Just for comparison, a single cross-country flight in the U.S. exposes one to about 3.5 mrem and a dental x-ray is about 2.5.

Of course not all radiation is equivalent, and neither are all doses. Low doses might even activate the immune system, providing a positive health benefit.

It wouldn’t be advisable to smoke fly ash. Neither is freezing oneself.

Ron Long
Reply to  Scissor
December 4, 2022 11:46 am

Thanks, Scissor. “Low doses might even activate the immune system…”, this probable effect is called hormesis, and there is abundant data that says it works, although most doctors don’t like the idea.

roaddog
Reply to  Ron Long
December 4, 2022 2:39 pm

The same doctors who will insist one expose themself to repeated injections with un-proven mRNA “vaccines”.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Ron Long
December 4, 2022 6:11 pm

This is one of the things I sometimes mention to people that really tends to get me labelled as a kook. Apparently decades of fearing nuclear annihilation really engrained irrational fear of ionizing radiation in our culture.

It seems obvious to me that it is the strength of our immune system that determines whether we can withstand any harmful effects, whether from pathogens or damaged cells. It is only when the immune system is overwhelmed that we develop a problem. I think that most people imagine that one cancerous cell inevitably leads to stage 4 metastasis and death and therefore any level of radiation is ultimately deadly. This is irrational.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  pigs_in_space
December 4, 2022 6:11 am

OK, a little fly ash- but, I suspect most humans have countless greater threats to their life- from bad food, alcholism, drug addiction, car accidents, all sorts of violence, the aging process- I could go on all day. Are we going to give up our conforts for that small amount of radiation?

Gunga Din
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 4, 2022 7:54 am
jtom
Reply to  pigs_in_space
December 4, 2022 3:34 pm

18 millirems per year? That’s equivalent to eating five bananas a day for a year. Somehow, I’m not worried.

Stuart Baeriswyl
December 4, 2022 12:38 am

I am really glad I took the time read Dr. Doshi’s blog / article regarding ‘King Coal’. I feel very much enlightened and up-to-speed on the subject – but would still welcome any, perhaps, more critical viewpoints regarding what appears to be a simple, useful and abundant energy* source. *Just there I wanted to call coal a “green energy source” lol – as I’m beginning to view fossil fuels as the true green energy …Who makes up these labels “green energy” anyways!

So much climate crises propaganda at play these days in the media and in schools no doubt, that an average citizen with no background in energy, physics, or atmosphere sciences may feel he/she has no way to question what they are hearing. Glad I read this article👍🏻

Allan MacRae
Reply to  Stuart Baeriswyl
December 4, 2022 4:37 am

RE Green Energy:

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/11/28/ace-forecaster-bastardi-something-we-used-to-see-in-1970s-warns-of-spectacular-cold/#comment-3644391
[excerpt] 
PREDICTION OF THE CARNAGE THIS WINTER IN EUROPE
The cull of the elderly and poor
 
We published the important conclusions to this debate in 2002 and nothing has changed:
The alleged Climate Crisis is a fifty-year-old scam, and “green energy” is not green and does not produce much useful energy.

The Climate scammers have wasted trillions of dollars and millions of lives on fraud.

cwright
Reply to  Stuart Baeriswyl
December 4, 2022 4:46 am

Yes, it’s an excellent article.
I was particularly struck by one thing: that coal has about ten times the energy density by weight than a Tesla battery.
This is why electric cars are heavier than petrol cars. This is also why I think that electric aircraft will never take off (pun intended) for serious commercial aviation, where range is so important. Perhap they should consider coal-fired aircraft!
Chris

Scissor
Reply to  cwright
December 4, 2022 6:57 am

Vehicles, and aircraft in particular, benefit from loss of weight as fuel is consumed.

Basic physics is that kinetic energy is proportional to mass, so all things being equal, it takes more energy to propel EVs, and batteries become dead weight.

ThinkingScientist
December 4, 2022 12:40 am

Here in the UK our politicians have destroyed 18 GW of coal power generation capacity since 2010, out of a total of 23 GW.

The remainder is supposed to be shut in 2 years.

Currently what remains can run at up to 1.0 to 1.5 GW and it’s still helping keep the lights on. Minister’s have been trying to keep it open. Mixed messages anyone?

Stupid, stupid, stupid idiots. And what a waste of money.

Last edited 2 months ago by ThinkingScientist
Iain Reid
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
December 4, 2022 1:23 am

ThinkingScientist,

I don’t know how many were shut prematurely but doesn’t it bring the phrase ‘putting all your (fuel) eggs in one basket’ to mind.
Of course those in charge seem convinced we can shut down fossil fuel generation and run instead on renewables. When is the penny going to drop?

roaddog
Reply to  Iain Reid
December 4, 2022 2:41 pm

You mean Diversity Isn’t Our Strength? LOL

Captain-Starlet
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
December 4, 2022 2:53 am

As a Brit it pains me to say this but the British people in the most part are stupid stupid idiots to keep voting for them.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Captain-Starlet
December 4, 2022 4:47 am

The problem the voters face is lack of choice. If they don’t vote its always LibLabCon there is no other option on the ballot with any chance of being elected to represent them.
Any party that goes forward the most recent example being UKIP is immediately denigrated and despite winning more votes than the LibDems and the SNP combined at the 2015 election, they achieved no seats in Parliament. The SNP were given 48 and the Libdems 8 from memory. Easy to check I just can’t be bothered.

Last edited 2 months ago by Rod Evans
MarkW
Reply to  Rod Evans
December 4, 2022 7:07 am

I think it was New Orleans just voted to give $100 to every citizen to donate to political candidates each election cycle.
Of course they also put strict standards as to which parties qualify to receive these “donations”.
It’s hardly surprising that in a city dominated by Democrats, the Democrat and Republican parties are the only ones that qualify to receive these “donations”.
If the Republicans slip much further, even they may not qualify much longer.

Once Democrats dominate an area, they quickly change the rules in order to guarantee a one party state.

Editor
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 12:04 pm

There is a huge difference between Democrats and democrats.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Rod Evans
December 4, 2022 8:46 am

Well, people should just keep voting for UKIP until it DOES start filling seats in Parliament then.

People have to stop believing no choice is their only choice.

Barnes Moore
Reply to  Captain-Starlet
December 4, 2022 5:55 am

Sadly, it’s not just brits – it’s pretty much all the masses in the western developed world. While there may be a few republicans here in the US who don’t fully buy into the charade, far too many do, and I would say 99-100% of democrats buy into it completely. With the constant pounding in the MSM, and the indoctrination occurring in the classroom at all grade levels and at colleges and universities, it’s almost impossible to find politicians to vote for that will do battle. At least some republicans are sounding the alarm re: energy security in the US, but by and large with a few exceptions, if pressed on climate change, they will equivocate and not call BS on it.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Captain-Starlet
December 4, 2022 6:15 am

I’m no expert on the history of British philosophers but my limited knowledge is that in the 18th and 19th century, British philosophy was very much about common sense compared to the idealism of “the continent”. Too bad that was lost. Was this emasculation due to loss of empire and devastation of 2 WWs?

MarkW
Reply to  Captain-Starlet
December 4, 2022 7:02 am

The problem with voting, is that you only have one vote, and there are literally hundreds of issues that matter.
Unfortunately the majority of British voters have decided that keeping the supply of free stuff flowing, is the most important issue.
We may have reached that point in the US as well.

roaddog
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 2:44 pm

That horse is long out of the barn. Try explaining to anyone under the age of 45 that TikTok is a data collection system operated by the CCP; or that Alexa is not benign.

sturmudgeon
Reply to  Captain-Starlet
December 4, 2022 11:10 am

Not certain (but extremely suspicious) that “voters” are not really in control throughout the World… it is the “counters”.

roaddog
Reply to  Captain-Starlet
December 4, 2022 2:42 pm

“No matter who you vote for, the government always gets in.” – old Anarchist saying.

barryjo
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
December 4, 2022 6:00 am

I see two problems. One, it is not their money. Two, no one is held accountable for the stupid decisions.

sturmudgeon
Reply to  barryjo
December 4, 2022 11:12 am

WINNER! Brief, and Accurate.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
December 4, 2022 8:44 am

Worse than shutting them down, they saw to their demolition. So unlike Germany, where shuttered plants are being restarted, Britain has screwed its population over by its zeal to eliminate coal fired power as an option.

roaddog
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
December 4, 2022 2:46 pm

Same thing all across the American West. Wasn’t bad enough that the EPA forced closure of our coal-fired power plants, the generating companies then tore them down. There is no going back, except at the level of the individual homeowner, and even then it’s only an option available to those living in rural locations.

abolition man
December 4, 2022 1:10 am

Coal is an obvious solution for poor countries trying to raise their citizens standard of living! Still, burning all the coal in the world will not stave off the next period of glaciation that is past due already! That is the problem that our scientists and engineers should be wrestling with, not the Climate Catastrophe sold by sociopathic barkers to the immature and weak minded!
If the climate zealots were actually concerned with CO2, they would push nuclear power while encouraging the Third World to progress from coal to gas to nuclear as their societies develop.
That would also hasten the halt of population growth, as with wealthy nations around the world. Instead I fear that the Climageddon true believers have another solution in mind for controlling population; something more in the Chinese Communist line.

Last edited 2 months ago by abolition man
strativarius
December 4, 2022 1:16 am

“”Cumbria coalmine plan is ‘backward step’, says Alok Sharma”” – The Sunday Grauniad, aka The Observer

No outbreak of common sense here…

Oldseadog
December 4, 2022 2:44 am

Nitpick:- COP26 was in Glasgow, not Edinburgh.

But the West Virginia coalminers can keep digging it up and then sell it to China, they love the stuff.

CampsieFellow
Reply to  Oldseadog
December 4, 2022 4:18 am

How would anybody get a thing like that wrong?

roaddog
Reply to  Oldseadog
December 4, 2022 2:48 pm

Greens have aggressively lobbied against suitable loadout infrastructure to permit the export of clean, low-sulfur US coal to Asia. That the use of our low-sulfur coal would clean up the skies of large Chinese cities completely escapes them.

Phil Rae
December 4, 2022 2:50 am

Tilak! Thanks for a great article, as usual!

One day soon, people will hopefully sit back and wonder how the world could have been hoodwinked and totally-misled by a cabal of rabid “environmentalists” with the help of witless politicians, the mainstream media and the money-grubbing bankers & CEOs who are rubbing their hands in glee at all the free money they can get from taxpayers & consumers!

If that day of enlightenment doesn’t happen, I guess humanity will be in a very bad totalitarian place for the foreseeable future! And the Marxists and misguided Capitalists will have succeeded in their long term goal of destroying modern civilisation. Tragic!

wilpost
December 4, 2022 5:10 am

China To Double Coal-Fired Power Plant Capacity…Aims To Avoid Europ…By P Gosselin on 25. November 2022

China continues to barrel ahead with the new construction and expansion of coal fired power plants

In Germany, while radical groups of climate-crazies like Extinction… German online Blackout News here
comment image

It will be many decades before China turns green, if ever.
Coal is still number 1 by far.

Source: https://ourworldindata.org/energy

“China is building a huge number of new coal-fired power plants, possibly more than the rest of the world combined,” reports Blackout News, citing Bloomberg.

A small part of that huge added capacity, MW, will serve to counteract the relatively small variable outputs of wind and solar, on a less than minute-by-minute basis, 24/7/365, to ensure:

1) Production remains exactly equal to supply, at all times,
2) Reliable electricity service

As a result, that small part of the coal-fired power plants will not operate at full capacity.

Four times more than what Germany needs

By the end of 2023, China plans to add new coal-fired power plants with a capacity of at least 165,000 MW 
That capacity is estimated to increase to 270,000 MW, by the end of 2025.

China’s added coal plant capacity would be greater than what the rest of the world is adding!!

So why would China barrel ahead at warp speed to install coal-fired power plants?

The answer is, its leaders see the huge blunders made by the US and EU, that chaotically rushed into the
wind/solar/batteries trio, without any plan whatsoever; more of a blunder in the EU, than in the US.

This winter, some countries, especially Germany, are facing rolling brownouts, due to a grid that’s been made unstable by excessive wind/solar/battery reliance, plus untimely, ill-advised shutdowns of coal and nuclear power plants.

China aims to avoid those US and EU debacles.

China’s strategy is responding to mistakes made in the U.S. and Europe with its expansion.

The US and EU stopped investing in fossil fuel capacity, MW, and infrastructures (grid and fuel supply and storage) dreaming wind/solar/battery trio would replace fossil plants, summarizes Blackout News

However, wind and solar could not even exist on the grid, without the other power plants doing the counteracting of the variable outputs of wind and solar.

See Appendix for the outrageously high cost of battery systems.

No way around conventional power plants 

China’s strategies demonstrate, how it is physically impossible to solely rely on wind/solar/battery trio, and that a huge fossil fuel back-up system is imperative and unavoidable.
It looks like the Chinese leaders took the required SANITY pills.

For Western government/Media consumption, President Xi Jinping claims, China’s aim is to:

1) Eventually phase out fossil fuels
2) Follow the strategy of “building new before discarding old

However, China is doing lots of building of new coal plants, and little discarding of old coal plants.

The wacko protesters should be gluing themselves in China, if they’re really concerned about “saving the world.”

China likely would put them in forced labor camps, or worse

Coal-consumption-china-768x536.png
Hans Erren
December 4, 2022 6:00 am

Coal is a killer

B58B94A3-59B5-45E6-A29E-7CBFF5A8A7C1.png
Scissor
Reply to  Hans Erren
December 4, 2022 6:50 am

Those statistics are based on mining operation production, which are dominated by poor practices in China.

Nevertheless, there are two sides. What are the benefits?

By nearly all measures, Chinese have enjoyed improvements in their standard of living, including life expectancy, largely via coal.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Hans Erren
December 4, 2022 12:52 pm

Embiggen the chart and note that “Nuclear” is the clear winner.

mkelly
December 4, 2022 9:30 am

Post says:”But the bottom line remains in Senator Manchin’s favor…”

They now know he can be played for nothing. West Virginia is not safe. The good senator caved and will continue to do so. The only honorable thing to do now is quit or change parties. The governor of WV did. Either the people of WV are priority or the party is. Manchin fail his first test.

roaddog
Reply to  mkelly
December 4, 2022 2:51 pm

I’m hoping that the good people of West Virginia will show him the door for the role he played in helping Biden kick off our exploding inflation.

John Hultquist
December 4, 2022 12:48 pm

The author uses the term catalytic reduction.
My wood stove has a “catalytic converter” and other places there are catalytic burners. Those on internal combustion engines (ICE) are referred to as “converters”.
The article linked to below claims the units in ICE vehicles use both reduction and oxidation reactions. It has been 58 years since I took a chemistry class. 😒
https://auto.howstuffworks.com/catalytic-converter.htm

joel
December 4, 2022 8:28 pm

About coal vs gas.
According to the EIA, LNG emits much more CO2 per BTU than brown coal.
So, the smart Europeans importing LNG instead of burning coal are making the climate crisis worse.
It is all a fraud.

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