Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Obama: ‘I didn’t Kill Coal, Gas Did’

Donald Trump has accused Barack Obama of waging a “war on coal”, but the current president has said it was “market forces”

Marcellus shale gas-drilling site in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Nicholas A. Tonelli/Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
US president Barack Obama has laid the responsibility for the decline of the coal industry at the feet of its sister fuel, natural gas.

Writing in the journal Science, Obama argued that the decline of US coal production and the lay off of workers was the inevitable result of competition from cheap natural gas.

This increase, Obama said, was “due almost entirely to the shift from higher-emitting coal to lower-emitting natural gas, brought about primarily by the increased availability of low-cost gas due to new production techniques”.

Gas has risen from 21% of US electricity generation in 2008 to roughly a third today.  In 2016 natural gas surpassed coal as the biggest source of electricity for the first time.

“Because the cost of new electricity generation using natural gas is projected to remain low relative to coal, it is unlikely that utilities will change course and choose to build coal-fired power plants, which would be more expensive than natural gas plants, regardless of any near-term changes in federal policy,” said Obama.

That rubs against the narrative of a “war on coal” that Trump and many Republicans have developed over Obama’s tenure.

Read more at Obama: ‘I didn’t Kill Coal, Gas Did’

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