EPIBuilding a Sustainable Future
Lester R. Brown, with Janet Larsen, J. Matthew Roney, and Emily E. Adams

Chapter 3. Closing Coal Plants

We may wake up one morning in the not-too-distant future and realize that the world has reached a tipping point on coal. Use of this fuel will be declining worldwide, as it already is in many countries. Coal accounts for some 40 percent of global electricity generation. Natural gas accounts for 22 percent, hydroelectric power provides 16 percent, nuclear power some 11 percent, and oil just 5 percent. Wind, biomass, and solar make up the remainder. No one knows exactly when coal will lose its top ranking as a source of electricity, but with world solar generating capacity growing in recent years at a phenomenal 60 percent annually and wind by more than 20 percent, use of the black rock that led the world into the industrial age may decline even faster than many in the energy field expect. 1

Coal takes a heavy toll in each phase of its journey from the ground to the smokestacks of power plants and beyond. For coal miners themselves, the price is all too often black lung disease. Official data show that 76,000 coal miners have died in the United States since 1968 from black lung disease, a preventable affliction caused by breathing coal dust—a disease for which there is no cure. In China, with many more mines and less safety oversight, 10 times as many people are thought to be living with black lung disease today, though because of underreporting, the number could be far greater. More directly, accidents in Chinese mines have claimed over a thousand lives in each of the past several years. 2

Miners' deaths are only the beginning of coal’s health burden. Coal burning is a major source of mercury—a potent neurotoxin—in the environment. In the world’s water bodies, mercury travels up the aquatic food chain and endangers human health via fish consumption. Coal also contains lead, cadmium, arsenic, and other carcinogens that can enter the environment where coal is mined, washed, or burned. Breathing the sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter released to the air from burning coal increases a person’s risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including heart attacks and lung cancer. 3

In the United States, air pollution from coal-fired power plants is estimated to cause more than 13,000 premature deaths each year, mostly in the coal-dependent eastern swath of the country. Coal pollution is implicated in triggering over 20,000 heart attacks and 217,000 asthma attacks annually. These figures are actually improvements over years ago, before regulations like the federal Clean Air Act and state laws reduced air pollution from coal plants, mostly by requiring scrubbers on smokestacks. The Clean Air Task Force estimates that such rules saved some 11,000 lives each year between 2004 and 2010. But there is still work to be done. 4

The death toll from bad air is famously high in China, where rates of cancer and cardiovascular diseases in severely polluted areas are soaring. New York Times Beijing correspondent Edward Wong writes: “Residents of its boom cities and a growing number of rural regions question the safety of the air they breathe, the water they drink and the food they eat. It is as if they were living in the Chinese equivalent of the Chernobyl or Fukushima nuclear disaster areas.” A recent study by Teng Fei at Tsinghua University estimated that coal burning led to 670,000 early deaths in China in 2012 from strokes, coronary heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 5

A Chinese government policy that gave communities north of the Huai River free coal to burn in boilers for heating created an unintentional experiment, allowing researchers to compare the longevity of people in areas with and without heavy coal use. Controlling for other factors, they found that the 500 million people living north of the river were paying a disturbingly high price for the free coal: their life spans were cut by an average of five years. 6

Until recently, conventional wisdom held that coal burning was at least an economic source of electricity. But a 2011 study led by Harvard Medical School professor Paul Epstein concluded that from the ground to the power plant, coal indirectly costs the U.S. economy an astounding $345 billion per year, largely because of the associated health care burden from air pollution and because of the climate change impacts. This massive figure exceeds the market value of the coal itself. In other words, the indirect costs to society of coal use are greater than the direct costs. Incorporating these indirect costs would easily double or triple the price of coal-generated electricity, making lower-cost wind and solar electricity clear winners. 7

In late 2013, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the world to take much stronger measures to stabilize climate, describing it as “the greatest single threat to peace, prosperity, and sustainable development.” Hardly a week goes by without another dramatic example somewhere in the world of how the changing climate is altering lives. Instead of discussing climate change in the future tense, now the discussion is all too often in the present tense. Any effort to stabilize the earth’s climate starts with closing coal plants simply because they are the leading source of carbon emissions worldwide. 8

Countries are taking different approaches to wean themselves from coal. Europe has been on a downward trend for coal use since the mid-1980s. Since 1965, Germany—Europe’s heaviest coal user—has cut its coal consumption in half. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom and France coal use fell by 70 percent. France plans to close 15 coal plants with a collective generating capacity of 3,900 megawatts between 2012 and 2016 while at the same time expanding wind farms to 25,000 megawatts. 9

Denmark banned new coal-fired power plants in 1997 and is looking to phase out coal power entirely by 2025. In late 2010, Hungary announced it would close its one remaining coal plant. Some coal facility shut-downs have come about in creative ways. In March 2014 police closed a coal plant in the Savona district in northern Italy. A judge had ruled in favor of Savona’s chief prosecutor, who cited a study that found emissions from the plant between 2000 and 2007 led to 400 premature deaths and 2,000 cases of heart and lung disease. The 660-megawatt coal facility will not be polluting the area any longer. 10

Outside of Europe, South Africa—the world’s sixth largest coal user—has reduced coal use 9 percent since its peak in 2008. A carbon tax set to begin in 2016 will likely bring coal use down even further. In New Zealand, releasing carbon into the atmosphere became more expensive following the introduction of an emissions trading scheme in 2008. Since then, coal use there has dropped by 30 percent. 11

Canada’s Ontario province, home to 39 percent of the country’s population, had closed 16 of its 19 coal-fired plants by the end of 2012. Already the benefits are visible. In 2005, the province had 53 smog days. In 2013, there were only 2. Closing the province’s huge Nanticoke Generating Station brought a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions that was equal to taking 3.7 million cars off the road. By April 2014, the three remaining coal plants were closed, making Ontario coal-free. At the same time, more than 25,000 homes, farms, schools, churches, and businesses either installed or started making plans to install small-scale, grid-connected photovoltaic arrays. The development of locally abundant wind resources is also playing a key role in Ontario's transition to renewable energy. For Canada as a whole, coal use has dropped more than a third since 2007. 12

In the United States, the number two coal user after China, coal use dropped 18 percent from 2007 to 2013. Of the 523 coal-fired power plants in the country, 180 either have recently closed or are scheduled to do so. One collateral benefit of this—in effect, a carbon reduction bonus—is the decline in the diesel fuel used by trains that carry the coal from mines to power plants across the country. The American Association of Railroads reports that the amount of coal moving by rail has been declining since 2008. 13

News headlines tell the story of coal's worsening prospects. In November 2013, the Washington Post ran an article entitled “Tennessee Valley Authority to Close 8 Coal Fired Power Units.” When one of the leading institutions in developing coal-fired power in the United States turns its back on this energy source so dramatically, coal plant investors and owners throughout the country pay close attention. 14

An April 2013 Washington Post on-line headline read “Study: The Coal Industry Is in Far More Trouble Than Anyone Realizes.” The story covered a peer-reviewed study by three researchers at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Among other things, the Duke team noted that if the U.S. coal industry were forced to comply with stricter regulations on controlling pollutants, costs would be prohibitive. Considering prevailing low natural gas prices, many operating plants would be forced to close. 15

This is starting to happen. For example, dozens of aging U.S. coal plants are likely to be retired in the near future due to a 2015 deadline requiring compliance with mercury and toxic air emissions standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has also started a process leading to regulations on carbon dioxide emissions, signaling to power producers that they should consider carbon in their long-term plans. 16

In many cases, closing the coal plants and replacing them with low-cost solar or wind energy or energy efficiency improvements is cheaper than retrofitting the plants.

In the northeastern United States, support for closing coal plants is mounting, and it cuts across many segments of society. In New Hampshire, for example, some 90 businesses are urging Public Service of New Hampshire, the local utility, to close both of its remaining coal power plants. Vermont and Rhode Island are both coal-free already. 17

At the start of 2013, seven utility-scale coal plants were still operating in New England. To feed these facilities, located in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire, the region spent $95 million in 2012 on coal imports, some from other states and some from other countries. Beyond this, the cost to operate and upgrade the aging fleet of coal plants to meet regulations is soaring. This is not just a matter of environmental acceptability but also of financial viability. Shifting from coal to solar and wind would benefit the local economies not only because of lower-cost electricity but also because the dollars spent would remain within the area. 18

Massachusetts, the most populous New England state, is planning the end of its coal era. Of the state’s three remaining utility-scale coal plants that were operational in early 2014, one—Salem Harbor Power Station—closed on June 1, 2014. A second, Mt. Tom, ceased operation on the following day. The third, Brayton Point, is scheduled to close in 2017. At that point, Massachusetts will be coal-free. Closing coal plants has helped Massachusetts cut its carbon emissions by 21 percent since 2005, making it an example for the world to follow. 19

Further south, the large 480-megawatt GenOn coal plant in Alexandria, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., closed in late September 2012. U.S. Representative Jim Moran called the plant “one of 200 dinosaurs built before 1960 and exempt from the Clean Air Act.” The facility emitted copious amounts of nitrogen and sulfur dioxide and 72 pounds of mercury each year. Moran noted that “one seventh of a teaspoon of mercury dropped in a lake can poison that lake.” 20

Across the country, California—which burns little coal within its borders—reduced the amount of coal-fired electricity that it imports from other states by 18 percent from 2007 to 2012. The state utility of Nevada plans to be coal-free by 2025. It has announced that it will shutter its coal-fired power plants, replacing them with wind farms, solar installations, and natural gas power plants. 21

Indeed, natural gas is the energy source that some utilities have been choosing to cut their power plant pollution. With the growing use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), U.S. natural gas production has boomed in recent years. The increase in production has led to a drop in prices for the fuel, which in turn lures utilities away from coal. But natural gas is only a short-term stopgap. Like coal, gas is a depletable resource, one whose full environmental damage is slowly being uncovered. 22

In areas with heavy natural gas development, air quality has deteriorated from the drilling and the concomitant boost in heavy machinery and trucking. The fracking process requires large quantities of water. Injecting fracking fluids that contain chemicals into the ground to create fissures in shale rock formations to free up natural gas puts valuable groundwater at risk of contamination. Complaints of health problems associated with the bad air and water have increased. Fracking and injection of wastewater, which sometimes contains radioactive elements, back into the ground have caused earthquakes in unlikely places, like Ohio and Oklahoma. On top of these problems, recent research suggests that methane leaks all along the supply chain can make natural gas even more climate-disrupting than coal. Over 400 U.S. municipalities have passed anti-fracking measures because of environmental, health, and seismic concerns. Yet the boom continues. 23

In February 2009, in her State of the State address, Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan drove home the benefits of moving away from both coal and natural gas: “Instead of spending nearly $2 billion a year importing coal or natural gas from other states we’ll be spending our energy dollars on Michigan wind turbines, Michigan solar panels, Michigan energy-efficiency devices, all designed, manufactured and installed by... Michigan workers.” In a state where half of the electricity comes from coal plants, this would be a big transition. 24

In some areas, the high water demands of coal-fired power plants may lead to their demise. This is a particularly lively issue in Texas, a water-stressed state that has nearly 30 coal plants either operating or in the permitting stage. Key water users in Texas have banded together to oppose coal plant construction. The unusual coalition includes farmers, thirsty cities, and environmentalists. As Ryan Rittenhouse, who works with Public Citizen’s anti-coal campaign in Texas, points out: “Water is where [coal plants] are most vulnerable.” 25

Matthew Tresaugue, writing in the Houston Chronicle, noted that “the clash is the result of rising demand for both water and energy in Texas. With the state’s population expected to double by 2060, there will be more neighborhoods, more businesses, more lights, and more air conditioners. Meanwhile, the water supply is projected to decrease by 18 percent because of aquifer depletion and sediment accumulation in reservoirs, according to state forecasts.” 26

Even with the tight water situation in Texas, planning for a new coal plant in Matagorda County, wittily called the White Stallion Energy Center, was moving ahead until growing opposition from a variety of local constituencies led the developer to abandon its proposal in February 2013. Rice farmers, who depend heavily on water, had worried that the power plant would squeeze them out of business. Environmentalists and fishers were concerned because of the additional mercury burden. Local people also feared the loss of water sustaining the estuaries that support nurseries for fish and shrimp and that provide a vital habitat for wintering birds. On its cancellation, the Sierra Club noted that “since the plant was proposed in 2008, the Texas electricity market has shifted substantially, with wind power and natural gas driving electricity prices so low that huge, capital-intensive new coal plants could not compete.” 27

The Sierra Club—with its 2.4 million members and supporters—has become a leader in the effort to eradicate coal use in the United States. Spurred to action by the call for a coal rush in the Bush Administration’s 2001 energy plan, the Sierra Club has coordinated a fight to prevent construction of new plants through its Beyond Coal campaign. As of late 2014, the organization, working with more than 100 other groups, had defeated proposals for 183 new coal plants and helped drive the announced retirement of 180 coal-powered plants. 28

With each extreme weather event—mega-storm, flood, or heat wave—that is associated in the public mind with climate change, the pressure to close coal plants intensifies. In response to a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club and other organizations, Portland General Electric agreed to close Oregon’s only remaining coal plant by the end of 2020. When this plant closes, Oregon will be coal-free. After negotiations with the Sierra Club, other environmental groups, union leaders, religious groups, public health advocates, and state officials, Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire announced that the local utility would close part of its huge power plant in Centralia in 2020 and the remainder in 2025. Bruce Nilles of the Sierra Club says, “This agreement is sending a message that states are getting serious about combating global warming pollution and are taking steps to open up markets for home-grown clean energy.” 29

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in July 2011 that he was contributing $50 million to the Beyond Coal campaign. Sierra Club head Michael Brune called this a “game changer.” When Bloomberg, one of the most successful entrepreneurs of his generation, said coal has to go, it reverberated not only across the country but around the world. 30

One reason for the success of the Beyond Coal campaign is that Americans by and large simply do not like coal. A 2013 Gallup poll found that coal is Americans' least-favored energy source, far behind cleaner sources like wind and solar. 31

Although Beyond Coal is a national campaign, closures actually occur at the community level with the grassroots involvement of local groups, including health organizations alarmed by the effects of breathing coal plant emissions. Civil rights groups, concerned about the disproportionate impact of coal pollution on communities of color, also are involved. This combination of environmentalists, health advocates, and civil rights groups has created a formidable force in favor of replacing coal. 32

When the Sierra Club succeeds in closing a coal-fired power plant, it does not simply walk away from the site. Even while its members are working to close the plant, they also work with local communities to replace the coal-fired electricity with efficiency gains and clean electricity from wind, solar, or geothermal. In Los Angeles, for example, the local utility, the Sierra Club, and other organizations developed a plan to move off coal while protecting the pocketbooks of low-income residents. They celebrated a major victory in March 2013 when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that Los Angeles would go coal-free by 2025. The city will replace the dirty energy with energy efficiency and a massive urban rooftop solar initiative. 33

The Sierra Club has also launched a major challenge to coal on college and university campuses, and a broad cross-section of U.S. higher education institutions has become involved. The University of Illinois and Cornell University were among the first schools making coal-free commitments. At the University of North Carolina, another early adopter, Chancellor Holden Thorp announced in 2010 that the university was phasing out coal use. He remarked that “coal cars pulling up… to the plant is not particularly good symbolism for a university that teaches people about climate change and the frontiers of energy research.” Even coal-state schools such as the University of Tennessee, Western Kentucky University, and the University of Louisville have pledged to end coal use on campus. 34

By late 2014, a third of all on-campus coal plants in the United States had been retired or were slated to retire. These successes have encouraged the Sierra Student Coalition to broaden its campaign on fossil fuels and join forces with groups such as 350.org that are working to encourage schools to divest from coal, oil, and natural gas companies. 35

Investment banks are also taking a dim view of coal. Analysts at Goldman Sachs write: “We believe that thermal coal’s current position atop the fuel mix for global power generation will be gradually eroded.” They note that “most thermal coal growth projects will struggle to earn a positive return.” There are three reasons for this. One, environmental regulations on coal use are becoming more stringent. Two, the competition from natural gas, solar, and wind is intensifying. And three, investment in energy efficiency gains will lead to less coal use. Kevin Parker, while serving as the global head of asset management at Germany’s Deutsche Bank, put it this way: “Coal is a dead man walkin’.… Banks won’t finance [coal-fired power plants]. Insurance companies won’t insure them. The EPA is coming after them.… And the economics to make it clean don’t work.” 36

The mounting opposition to coal has led to shrinking or even disappearing profit margins, resulting in precipitous drops in the stock values of many coal-related companies. The Stowe Global Coal Index—a composite index of companies from around the world whose principal business involves coal—dropped 70 percent between April 2011 and September 2014, whereas the S&P 500 grew almost 50 percent during the same time. 37

Peabody Energy, the largest U.S. coal producer, is having a difficult time. Its market value dropped from roughly $10 billion in November 2006 to $3.9 billion in mid-September 2014, a decline of 61 percent. During the first half of 2014, Peabody’s market value fell 17 percent even as the Dow Jones global energy index climbed 12 percent. Because of its lower market value, Peabody was removed from the S&P 500. 38

Arch Coal, the other leading U.S. coal company, saw its market value drop a stunning 94 percent from April 2011 to September 2014. It suffered heavily from the shrinking U.S. coal market and dwindling demand from China for steel-making coal. 39

While coal use is dropping fast in the United States, it is growing in the developing world. But this could slow down somewhat as financing becomes more difficult. In June 2013 President Obama announced that the United States would no longer use public money to finance coal plants internationally except in special circumstances. The World Bank followed suit the next month and announced that it too would no longer fund coal plants. And in July 2013 the European Investment Bank placed strict limits on lending for new or renovated coal plants. Only facilities with carbon emissions below a certain threshold will be eligible for funding. Ingrid Holmes of the U.K.-based environmental think tank E3G said this move “puts the bankers ahead of politicians in terms of tangible action.” 40

Still, coal use worldwide is expanding. A number of countries are planning to build hundreds of new coal plants, including, importantly, India. But India is running into problems at the local level. Developing India’s coal reserves threatens some of its remaining forests, ones that are protected because they are home to the country’s surviving tiger population. Local communities are fighting back against planned coal plants that displace thousands of people. In one example, residents of coastal Sompeta teamed up with fishers, farmers, shepherds, doctors, women’s groups, and labor groups to combat the construction of a massive 1,980-megawatt plant.  Their peaceful opposition was met with violence, resulting in the deaths of two fishermen. The battle, which was also waged in Indian courts, ended when the coal plant lost its land allotment, effectively blocking its construction. 41

India’s coal sector is also suffering from the recent “Coalgate” scandal, which brought to light some $33 billion in coal leases that were not sold by open bidding but were practically given away to large, politically connected companies and wealthy individuals. Newspapers jumped on this issue with scathing editorials. In late 2014 the Indian Supreme Court canceled over 200 coal leases granted between 1993 and 2010 that now must go through new auctions. 42

Coal India, a semi-government agency that is the world’s largest coal miner, was expected to prosper or at least achieve a certain level of efficiency. But although it effectively has a monopoly, it frequently misses production goals. In late 2014 the government took the first steps toward opening up coal mining to private companies. The end of Coal India’s monopoly may be in sight. 43

Taxes on coal mined in or imported to India have recently doubled, with the extra revenue going toward renewable energy, namely solar. Shortly after taking office in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that he would be pushing hard for solar expansion at the national level just as he had at the state level when he was chief minister of Gujarat. And even Coal India is installing solar panels on some of its facilities to cut costs. 44

At the same time, however, the Modi administration is calling for a doubling of domestic coal use by 2020 as it tries to bring electricity to those who do not yet have it. The potential for this much growth from the world’s third largest coal user—and the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide—is worrisome. Indian cities already rival their Chinese counterparts for the world’s worst air pollution. More coal plants would only make this situation worse, pushing India’s estimated annual death toll from coal-related pollution to over 150,000. 45

China consumes more coal than the rest of the world combined. It gets some 80 percent of its electricity from the fossil fuel. However, China’s annual growth in coal use has dropped from more than 10 percent in some years over the last decade to less than 4 percent in 2013. And in the first 11 months of 2014, coal use in China dropped for the first time in decades, which may mean that peak coal is here. 46

Several factors are behind China’s coal slowdown. For one, rising public anger over pollutants from coal-fired power plants is damaging the coal prospect. The effect of pollution on the Chinese people has become such a pressing concern that the government can no longer ignore it. Another factor is water. Coal plants use large amounts of water for cooling. In the agriculturally productive North China Plain, where water tables are falling rapidly, the construction of more coal plants and their associated water needs will simply accelerate the drop in the water table until the aquifer is depleted. As water scarcity worsens, China will be facing a choice between using water to cool coal plants or using it for irrigation to produce rice and wheat. If it opts for the former, China will need to import even more grain than it does today, putting additional pressures on the world’s exportable supplies and quite likely driving the world price of grain higher while at the same time raising the global thermostat. 47

In September 2013 Citi Research released a report entitled “The Unimaginable: Peak Coal in China.” Looking at China’s massive and unprecedented push to develop its abundance of wind resources and its recent catapult into a leading position in global solar panel installations, peak coal may no longer be so unimaginable. Besides the increased use of other energy sources and the challenges of air pollution, the report counts China’s slowing economy and its energy efficiency improvements as reasons for a peak coming earlier than anticipated. 48

Some recent policy decisions will further decrease coal’s prominence in China. Three provinces and three major cities have pledged to cut their coal use substantially by 2017. This includes major industrial centers such as Beijing, Heibei, and Shandong. Shandong, the leading provincial energy consumer, currently burns as much coal as Germany and Japan combined do. The use and sale of coal are banned in Beijing starting in 2020. And in November 2014 China and the United States announced a groundbreaking agreement to limit carbon dioxide emissions, which of course means limiting coal use. Soon after, China announced it would cap its coal use by 2020. 49

The Chinese government also recently imposed import tariffs of up to 6 percent on coal. Although China has large coal reserves of its own, it is also the world’s leading importer, so its moves have a global effect. Indonesia and Australia, the two leading sources of China’s coal imports, will both get tariff exemptions under free trade agreements. All countries sending coal to China need to meet stricter quality controls starting in 2015, as China is banning the use of high-sulfur coal in populous areas to help improve air quality. 50

China’s coal imports from Australia have been on the rise. Australia’s relationship with coal is an uneasy one. The country decreased its own coal use 20 percent since peaking in 2006, but its exports to countries including China, Japan, and South Korea are increasing. Despite coal’s dimming future and its general unpopularity among citizens, Australian decisionmakers are doubling down on last century’s fuel, moving forward with new mines and port expansions. Shortly after repealing the country’s carbon tax in 2014, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott opened a new coal mine with the declaration that “coal is good for humanity.” Even though it is already operating below capacity, the major port at Newcastle is scheduled to expand to increase its ability to export coal. Whether the port will ever use the new capacity remains to be seen. 51

U.S. coal companies are also looking for markets abroad to replace shrinking domestic demand. Exports of coal to China, almost non-existent in 2007, have grown to 7.5 million tons of coal. The U.S. coal industry hopes that this grows quickly. Over much of the past decade, total U.S. coal exports climbed, reaching an all-time high of 114 million tons in 2012. Exports then fell in 2013 and 2014. The question now facing the U.S. coal industry is not just whether exports can grow but whether the current level can be sustained. 52

One of the world’s largest coal reserves is located in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana. Until recently, U.S. coal companies had few options other than to use ports in Seattle and British Columbia to export that coal. But as the interest in moving coal through the Pacific Northwest grows, this region could find itself serving as the jumping-off point for close to 100 million tons of Asia-bound coal every year if proposed new terminals are built. Needless to say, handling this much coal in northwestern coastal ports, with all the associated coal dust, is of great concern to those who live there. In addition, the growing number of ships on the Columbia River and the added rail traffic could interfere with the local flow of transported goods. 53

Lined up in opposition to more coal exports are the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and a number of other national and regional environmental and local citizens' groups. Also aligned with the environmental groups is the Lummi Nation, a Native American tribe that once inhabited much of the Pacific Northwest region, who are concerned about the threats to health and fisheries, as well as about preserving culturally important sites. Cesia Kearns, a Beyond Coal campaigner in the region, says: “Coal exports threaten our health and public safety. This has been garnering public outcry like I have not seen before. People are up in arms about it.” 54

Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon and almost 90 other elected officials have joined the EPA in asking for a comprehensive analysis of the effect of the proposed wholesale increase in coal shipments through the region. The situation is ironic. Oregon and Washington are being asked to serve as a conduit for global warming pollution in Asia, while at the same time they are closing their own coal-fired power plants to help prevent climate change from spiraling out of control. 55

In early January 2014, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that Goldman Sachs was backing away from one of the proposed terminals. In pulling out of the project, Goldman Sachs drove another nail into the coal coffin. As the options for exporting through the Pacific Northwest close, companies are looking south to the Gulf of Mexico. But there they are finding local opposition for many of the same reasons, plus concerns over coastal restoration. Residents want a healthy coast to help protect them from the next hurricane. It is hard to find a community eager to support such a dirty fuel. 56

The world is waking up to the true casualties of burning coal: clean air, safe water for drinking and irrigating crops, and a relatively stable climate. These costs unmask “cheap coal.” Many countries—including the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies—have realized this and are beginning to move away from coal. As the transition to renewable energy accelerates, more coal will stay in the safest place for it: underground.



1. Percent energy sources from International Energy Agency (IEA), Energy Balances of Non-OECD Countries (Paris: 2014), p. II.40; wind and solar growth rates BP, Statistical Review of World Energy June 2014 (London: 2014).

2. “Miners Battle Black Lung, and Bureaucracy,” New York Times, 7 September 2014; Chuin-Wei Yap, “China’s Coal Addiction Brings Scourge of Black Lung,” Wall Street Journal, 15 December 2014; “China Says it Saw Drops in Coal Mining Accidents and Deaths in 2013 as Safety Improves,” Associated Press, 4 January 2014.

3. Coal plants as major source of mercury pollution from U.N. Environment Programme, “Mercury Control from Coal Combustion,” at www.unep.org/chemicalsandwaste/Mercury/PrioritiesforAction/Coalcombustion/tabid/3530/Default.aspx, viewed 11 December 2014; mercury travels from coal burning to water to bioaccumulation from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “How People Are Exposed to Mercury,” at www.epa.gov/mercury/exposure.htm, updated 10 March 2014; coal also contains lead, cadmium, arsenic, and other carcinogens and washing, burning, and mining, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter lead to cardio and respiratory diseases from Alan H. Lockwood et al., Coal’s Assault on Human Health (Washington, DC: Physicians for Social Responsibility, November 2009), pp. x–xi, 11, 43.

4. Conrad Schneider and Jonathan Banks, The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America’s Dirtiest Energy Source (Boston, MA: Clean Air Task Force, September 2010), pp. 5, 8, 10–11.

5. Rates of cancer soaring from Ping Zhao et al., “Cancer Trends in China,” Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology, vol. 40, no. 4 (2010), pp. 281–85; rates of cardiovascular disease soaring from World Health Organization, “China,” country profile, Geneva, 2014; Edward Wong, “Life in a Toxic Country,” New York Times, 3 August 2013; Geoffrey Smith, “The Cost of China’s Dependence on Coal—670,000 Deaths a Year,” Fortune, 5 November 2014.

6. Yuyu Chen et al., “Evidence on the Impact of Sustained Exposure to Air Pollution on Life Expectancy from China’s Huai River Policy,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 110, no. 32 (6 August 2013), pp. 12,936–41.

7. Paul R. Epstein et al., “Full Cost Accounting for the Life Cycle of Coal,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 1,219 (February 2011), pp. 73–98.

8. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, remarks prepared for the Ministerial Meeting on Climate Finance, Warsaw: 20 November 2013; coal emissions calculated by Earth Policy Institute from energy consumption from BP, op. cit. note 1, and from emissions data in T. A. Boden, G. Marland, and R. J. Andres, “Global, Regional, and National Fossil-fuel CO2 Emissions,” in Trends: A Compendium of Data on Global Change (Oak Ridge, TN: Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, 2013), and from Global Carbon Project, Carbon Budget 2014, at www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/index.htm, updated 21 September 2014.

9. Coal consumption from BP, op. cit. note 1; France closing 15 plants between 2012 and 2016 from Réseau de Transport d’Electricité, Generation Adequacy Report on the Electricity Supply-demand Balance in France (Paris: 2012), p. 12; 25 GW wind by 2020 from REN21, Renewables 2014 Global Status Report (Paris: REN21 Secretariat, 2014), p. 123.

10. Denmark banned new coal in 1997 from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Regulatory Reform in Denmark: Regulatory Reform in the Electricity Sector (Paris: 2000), p. 9; Alister Doyle, “Denmark Considers Phasing Out Coal by 2025 in Big Green Shift,” Reuters, 1 November 2014; Hungary closes last remaining coal plant from Elisabeth Rosenthal, “As Europe Kicks Coal, Hungarian Town Suffers,” New York Times, 15 September 2010; Italian police from “Italian Judge Blames Coal Plant for Hundreds of Deaths, Forces it to Shut Down,” Huffington Post, 11 March 2014 and from Emily Atkin, “Italian Judge Order Shutdown of Coal Plant Following Deaths and Disease,” Climate Progress, blog, at thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/03/12/3398671/italian-coal-shutdown, 12 March2014.

11. BP, op. cit. note 1; World Bank, State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2014 (Washington, DC: 2014), pp. 62, 83.

12. Statistics Canada, “Population by Year, Province and Territory,” at www.statcan.gc.ca/start-debut-eng.html, updated 25 November 2013; Atikokan plant stopped burning coal in 2012 from Ontario Power Generation, “Atikokan Generating Station,” at www.opg.com/generating-power/thermal/stations/atikokan-station/Pages/atikokan-station.aspx, viewed 24 November; Christa Marshall, “Ontario Phases out Coal-fired Power,” Scientific American, 11 January 2013; Government of Ontario, “Creating Cleaner Air in Ontario Province on Track to Eliminate Coal-Fired Generation,” press release (Toronto: 23 October 2013); coal free in 2014 from Government of Ontario, “Creating Cleaner Air in Ontario Province Has Eliminated Coal-Fired Generation,” press release (Toronto:15 April 2014); smog days from Government of Ontario, “Ontario Smog Advisories: 2013–2014,” at www.airqualityontario.com/press/smog_advisories.php?t=1, viewed 13 September 2014; equivalent to 3.7 million cars in 2005 from “Ontario Premier’s Bill Bans Coal-Fired Power in the Province,” Environment News Service, 22 November 2013; Trillium Power Wind Corporation, Round 1: Turbocharging Ontario’s Economy through the Development of Its Unique Offshore Wind Resources (Toronto: January 2010), p. 5; wind part of transition from REN21, op. cit. note 9, p. 122; BP, op. cit. note 1.

13. Sierra Club, “Beyond Coal Victories,” at content.sierraclub.org/coal/victories, viewed 9 January 2015; China coal consumption from BP, op. cit. note 1; U.S. coal consumption compiled by Earth Policy Institute with consumption data for 1950–2013 from “Coal Consumption by Sector,” Table 6.2, and heat content data for 1950–2014 from “Approximate Heat Content of Coal and Coke Coal,” Table A.5 in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Information Administration (EIA), Monthly Energy Review, September 2014; Association of American Railroads, “Railroads and Coal,” background paper (Washington, DC: July 2014), p. 7.

14. Steven Mufson, “Tennessee Valley Authority to Close 8 Coal-fired Power Units,” Washington Post, 14 November 2013.

15. Brad Plumer, “Study: The Coal Industry Is in Far More Trouble Than Anyone Realizes,” Wonkblog, at washingtonpost.com, 8 April 2013; Lincoln F. Pratson, Drew Haerer, and Dalia Patiño-Echeverri, “Fuel Prices, Emission Standards, and Generation Costs for Coal vs Natural Gas Power Plants,” Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 47, no. 9 (2013), pp. 4,926–33.

16. EPA’s MATS to cause coal plants to shut down and replaced with natural gas from Naureen S. Malik and Harry R. Weber, “Breathing Cleaner Air to Cost Americans on Utility Bills,” Bloomberg Businessweek, 29 October 2014, and from Institute for Energy Research, “Impact of EPA’s Regulatory Assault on Power Plants: New Regulations to Take More than 72 GW of electricity Generation Offline and the Plant Closing Announcements Keep Coming,” (Washington, DC: October 2014); Brad Plumer, “Supreme Court Allows EPA to Keep Regulating Carbon–but Will Review a Few Details,” Wonkblog, at washingtonpost.com, 15 October 2013.

17. Bob Sanders, “Concord, Portsmouth Businesses Call for Coal Plant Clampdowns,” New Hampshire Business Review, 18 October 2013; DOE, EIA, “Electricity Data Browser,” electronic database, at www.eia.gov/electricity/data/browser, downloaded 17 July 2014.

18. DOE, op. cit. note 17; $95 million in imports from Union of Concerned Scientists, “State Rankings of Net Coal Import Expenditures (2012) (billion $),” fact sheet (Cambridge, MA: January 2014); some from other countries from Union of Concerned Scientists, “Burning Coal, Burning Cash: Massachusetts’ Dependence on Imported Coal,” fact sheet (Cambridge, MA: May 2010), p. 1; old plants become uneconomical after pollution controls from Lesley Fleischman et al., “Ripe for Retirement: An Economic Analysis of the U.S. Coal Fleet,” Electricity Journal, vol. 26, no. 10 (December 2013), pp. 51–63.

19. Population from U.S. Census Bureau, State & County QuickFacts, electronic database, at quickfacts.census.gov, updated 30 June 2014; Brayton Point closing in 2017 from Alex Kuffner, “After Rejecting Request to Delay Shutdown, Brayton Point Moves to Close Coal-fired Plant in 2017,” Providence Journal, 29 January 2014; Salem Harbor and Mt. Tom from Erin Ailworth, “The End of the Coal Era in Massachusetts,” Boston Globe, 18 June 2014; cut in carbon emissions from DOE, EIA, State CO2 Emissions, electronic database at www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/state/state_emissions.cfm, updated 25 February 2014.

20. Patricia Sullivan, “GenOn Power Plant in Alexandria Is Set to Close,” Washington Post, 29 September 2012; Moran quote from Patricia Sullivan, “Alexandria Officials, Residents Celebrate GenOn Plant Closing,” Virginia Politics blog, at washingtonpost.com, 1 October 2012.

21. Valmy plant closed by 2025 from Chris Clarke, “Coal Being Phased Out in Nevada,” Rewire, 4 April 2013; Reid Gardner plant fully closed and replaced with gas and solar by 2019 from Sean Whaley, “NV Energy Proposes Shutting Three of Four Reid Gardner Coal-fired Units,” Las Vegas Review Journal, 1 May 2014; Richard Cowart et al., State Options for Low-Carbon Coal Policy, Coal Initiative Reports, White Paper Series, (Arlington, VA: Pew Center on Global Climate Change, February 2008), p. 13; uses little coal and exports less from California Energy Commission, “Current and Expected Energy from Coal for California,” (Sacramento, CA: 6 November 2014).

22. Plumer, op. cit. note 15; Lincoln F. Pratson, Drew Haerer, and Dalia Patiño-Echeverri, “Fuel Prices, Emission Standards, and Generation Costs for Coal vs Natural Gas Power Plants,” Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 47, no. 9 (2013), pp. 4,926–33; replacing coal with solar, wind, gas can be cheaper than retrofits from Fleischman et al., op. cit. note 18; horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing key to shale gas from DOE, EIA, Review of Emerging Resources: U.S. Shale Gas and Shale Oil Plays (Washington, DC: July 2011), p. 4; switching from coal to less expensive natural gas from DOE, EIA, Annual Energy Outlook 2014 with Projections to 2040 (Washington, DC: April 2014), pp. IF-34-40.

23. Paul Reig et al., Global Shale Gas Development Water Availability And Business Risks (Washington, DC: World Resources Institute, 2014) p. 19; Robert B. Jackson et al., “Increased Stray Gas Abundance in a Subset of Drinking Water Wells near Marcellus Shale Gas Extraction,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 110, no. 28 (9 July 2013), pp. 11,250–55; John L. Adgate et al., “Potential Public Health Hazards, Exposures and Health Effects from Unconventional Natural Gas Development,” Environmental Science & Technology, vol. 48, no. 15 (2014), pp. 8,307–20; fracking and health complaints from Jamie Smith Hopkins, “5-State Study Finds Unsafe Levels of Airborne Chemicals Near Oil and Gas Sites,” Inside Climate News, 30 October 2014; Felicity Carus “Dangerous Levels of Radioactivity Found at Fracking Waste Site in Pennsylvania,” (London) Guardian, 2 October 2013; Nathaniel R. Warner et al., “Impacts of Shale Gas Wastewater Disposal on Water Quality in Western Pennsylvania,” Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 47, no. 20 (15 October 2013), pp. 11,849–57; wastewater injection and earthquakes in Oklahoma from Darryl Fears, “Firing Fracking Wastewater into the Earth Likely Triggered Okla.’s Many Earthquakes,” Washington Post, 3 July 2014, and from K. M. Keranen et al., “Sharp Increase in Central Oklahoma Seismicity since 2008 Induced by Massive Wastewater Injection,” Science, vol. 345, no. 6,195 (25 July 2014), pp. 448–51; earthquakes in Ohio from Mark Berman, “Study Links Fracking to Dozens of Small Ohio Earthquakes,” Washington Post, 8 January 2015; climate and fracking from Robert W. Howarth, Renee Santoro, and Anthony Ingraffea, “Venting and Leaking of Methane from Shale Gas Development: Response to Cathles et al.,” Climatic Change, vol. 113, no. 2 (1 February 2012), pp. 537-49; climate also from Robert W. Howarth, “A Bridge to Nowhere: Methane Emissions and the Greenhouse Gas Footprint of Natural Gas,” Energy Science and Engineering, vol. 2, no. 2 (June 2014), pp. 47–60; over 400 municipalities from Food and Water Watch, “The Anti-Fracking Movement,” at www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/fracking/anti-fracking-map, viewed 12 December 2014.

24. Jennifer M. Granholm, “State of the State Address,” 3 February 2009, at www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/SOS2009_265915_7.pdf; DOE, EIA, Electricity Data Browser, electronic database, at www.eia.gov/electricity/data/browser, viewed 14 November 2014.

25. Twenty-one currently operating coal plants in Texas from DOE, EIA, Electricity Data Browser, electronic database, at www.eia.gov/electricity/data/browser, viewed 14 September 2014; five proposed coal plants from Sierra Club, “Proposed Coal Plant Tracker,” at content.sierraclub.org/coal/environmentallaw/plant-tracker, viewed 12 September 2014; Matthew Tresaugue, “Water Emerges as a New Weapon in Texas Coal Plant Fight,” Houston Chronicle, 25 October 2010.

26. Tresaugue, op. cit. note 25.

27. Ibid.; White Stallion plant defeated in Sierra Club, op. cit. note 25; quote from Sierra Club, “White Stallion Coal Proposal Cancelled,” press release (Bay City, TX: 15 February 2013).

28. Sierra Club, “About Us,” at content.sierraclub.org/coal/about-the-campaign, viewed 12 September 2014; Sierra Club, 2012 Annual Report: Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign (Washington, DC: 2013); Sierra Club, 2013 Annual Report: Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign (Washington, DC: 2014); Joseph Kahn, “Cheney Promotes Increasing Supply as Energy Policy,” New York Times, 1 May 2001; defeated 183 proposed coal plants from Sierra Club, “Proposed Coal Plant Tracker,” at content.sierraclub.org/coal/environmentallaw/plant-tracker, viewed 10 January 2015; announced retirement of 180 plants from Sierra Club, op. cit. note 13.

29. Oregon Sierra Club, “PGE, Sierra Club and Allies Settle Boardman Coal Emission Lawsuit,” at orsierraclub.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/pge-sierra-club-and-allies-settle-boardman-coal-emission-lawsuit, 20 July 2011; Portland General Electric, “PGE Asks DEQ to Allow Early Closure of Boardman Plant,” press release (Portland, OR: 2 April 2010); Government of Washington State, “Gov. Gregoire Announces Agreement with TransAlta,” press release (Olympia, WA: 5 March 2011); negotiations with many groups from Scott Martelle, “Kick Coal, Save Jobs Right Now,” Sierra Magazine, January/February 2012; Bruce Nilles quote from Dean Kuipers, “Last Coal Plant in Pacific Northwest to Shut Down Starting in 2020,” L.A. Times Greenspace blog, 6 March 2011.

30. Donation and game changer from Bloomberg Philanthropies, “Bloomberg Philanthropies Commits $50 Million to Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign,” press release (New York: 21 July 2011).

31. Dennis Jacobe, “Americans Want More Emphasis on Solar, Wind, Natural Gas,” press release (Princeton, NJ: Gallup, 27 March 2013).

32. Partner with many organizations from “Winning: Lessons from the Fight Against Big Coal,” Sierra Rise, blog, at content.sierraclub.org/sierrarise/blog/2013/07/winning-lessons-fight-against-big-coal, 31 July 2013; civil rights groups from Sierra Club, 2013 Annual Report, op. cit. note 28, p. 4; example from National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, “Climate Justice Initiative,” at www.naacp.org/programs/entry/climate-justice, viewed 1 December 2014.

33. Sierra Club, 2013 Annual Report, op. cit. note 28, pp. 8–9; Mary Anne Hitt, “'The Era of Coal is Over:’ Los Angeles Will Move Beyond Coal by 2025,” Compass, blog, at sierraclub.typepad.com/compass, 22 March 2013; Judith Lewis Mernit, “Repower LA,” Sierra Magazine, November/December 2013.

34. Mary Anne Hitt and Bruce Nilles, “This Year, the Outlook Dimmed for Coal,” Compass, blog, at sierraclub.typepad.com/compass, 22 December 2010; campus coal tracking from Anastasia Schemkes, Sierra Club, e-mail to Emily Adams, Earth Policy Institute, 5 May 2014; Sierra Student Coalition, Campuses Beyond Coal Guidebook 2.0 (Washington, DC); University of Tennessee commitment from University of Tennessee, “Steam Plant Conversion Project Underway,” press release (Knoxville, TN: 10 April 2014).

35. Schemkes, op. cit. note 34.

36. Carbon Tracker Initiative, Carbon Supply Cost Curves: Evaluating Financial Risk to Coal Capital Expenditures (London: September 2014), p. 10; Christian Lelong et al., The Window for Thermal Coal Investment Is Closing (Goldman Sachs, July 2013), p. 1; Parker quote from Steven Mufson, “Coal's Burnout: Have Investors Moved on to Cleaner Energy Sources?” Washington Post, 1 January 2011.

37. Stowe Global Coal Index, “Historical Performance Data,” electronic database, at stowe.snetglobalindexes.com/indexdata-form.php, viewed 10 October 2014; Morningstar.com, “Independent Investment Research,” electronic database, at www.morningstar.com/, viewed 10 October 2014; profits shrinking from U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, EDGAR, electronic database, viewed 1 November 2014.

38. Largest coal company from DOE, EIA, “Top Four U.S. Coal Companies Supplied More than Half of U.S. Coal Production in 2011,” Today in Energy, 2 October 2013; market value drop from 2006 to 2014 and cut from S&P from “Peabody Energy to be Removed from S&P 500 Index,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12 September 2014; 17 percent fall versus 12 percent gain from Eric Platt, “Peabody Leads Miners Lower,” Financial Times, 8 July 2014.

39. Morningstar.com, op. cit. note 37; Jacob Barker, “Investors Flee Arch Coal Debt, Driving Down its Bond Prices,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 31 October 2014; expected high Asian demand from Mario Parker and Aaron Clark, “Arch to Acquire International Coal for $3.4 Bill for Steelmaking Assets,” Bloomberg, 2 May 2014; took on debt thinking U.S. market and China market would stay hot from Liam Denning, “Arch Coal’s Bonds Shouldn’t Burn,” Wall Street Journal, 4 May 2014.

40. Coal use from BP, op. cit. note 1; Michael D. Shear, “U.S. Says it Won’t Back New International Coal-Fired Power Plants,” New York Times, 29 October 2013; World Bank, “World Bank Group Sets Direction for Energy Sector Investments,” press release (Washington, DC: 16 July 2013); John McGarrity, “EU Finance Arm Curbs Loans to Coal-fired Power Plants,” Reuters, 24 July 2013.

41. Coal use from BP, op. cit. note 1; plans to build hundreds of new plants from Ailun Yang and Yiyun Cui, Global Coal Risk Assessment: Data Analysis and Market Research (Washington, DC: World Resources Institute, November 2012); coal mining threatening forests, tigers from Ashish Fernandes, How Coal Mining is Trashing Tigerland (Bengaluru, India: Greenpeace-India, August 2012), p. 115; Modi expanding coal in India from Abheek Bhattacharya, “Coal India Remains Diamond in the Rough,” Wall Street Journal, 11 September 2014; displace thousands from Gardiner Harris, “Coal Rush in India Could Tip Balance on Climate Change,” New York Times, 17 November 2014; Nicole Ghio, Sierra Club, discussion with Emily Adams, Earth Policy Institute, 25 September 2014; Move Beyond Coal, Now! Victories on the Frontlines (Washington, DC: Sierra Club, September 2012), pp. 3–5.

42. Coalgate scandal from Vikas Baijaj and Jim Yardley, “Scandal Poses a Riddle: Will India Ever Be Able to Tackle Corruption?” New York Times, 15 September 2012; example of editorials from G. Sampath, “Ek Tha Tiger: The other Side of the Coal Scam,” DNA India, 25 August 2012, and from “The True Cost of ‘Coalgate,’” The Hindu, 19 August 2012; Supreme canceled and required new auctions from Puja Mehra, “Govt. to Bring Ordinance on Cancelled Coal Blocks,” The Hindu, 21 October 2014; James Crabtree, “India Court’s Coal Ruling Fuels Confusion,” Financial Times, 27 August 2014; James Crabtree, “India’s Supreme Court Declares More Than 200 Coal Mining Licences Illegal,” Financial Times, 25 August 2014.

43. Bhattacharya, op. cit. note 41; Sarita Singh and Himangshu Watts, “Corruption, Inefficiency eat 25% of CIL Output: Sriprakash Jaiswal,” (New Delhi) Economic Times, 19 October 2011; “Greenpeace and Rainforest Action Network Call Out Bank of America for Major Stake in Coal India Deal,” press release (San Francisco: Rainforest Action Network, 4 September 2013); steps to end Coal India’s monopoly from Avantika Chilkoti and James Crabtree, “India Eyes End to State Coal Monopoly,” Financial Times, 24 October 2014.

44. Smiti Mittal, “India Doubles Tax on Coal to Fund Clean Energy, Environmental Projects,” CleanTechnica, 20 July 2014; Modi as prime minister from Giles Parkinson, “Modi Accelerates India Solar Revolution, Doubles Tax on Coal,” Renew Economy, 11 July 2014; Modi as chief minister of Gujarat from Natalie Obiko Pearson and Debjit Chakraborty, “Modi Signals Solar Revolution for Power Market: Corporate India,” Bloomberg, 13 March 2014; Ryan Koronowski, “The World’s Biggest Coal Company is Turning to Solar Energy to Lower Its Utility Bill,” Climate Progress, blog, at thinkprogress.org/climate, 6 June 2013; Rajesh Kumar Singh, “Coal India Said to Plan Building $1.2 Billion of Solar Projects,” Bloomberg, 22 September 2014.

45. India wants to double its domestic coal production within five years from Alex Kirby, “India Set to Defy Warnings on Coal’s Climate Impact,” Climate News Network, 7 November 14; more on India’s goals to increase coal use from Gardiner Harris, “Coal Rush in India Could Tip Balance on Climate Change,” New York Times, 17 November 2014; third largest coal user from BP, op. cit. note 1; third largest carbon emissions from Global Carbon Project, op. cit. note 8; over 150,000 deaths by 2020 from coal expansion from Conservation Action Trust and Urban Emissions, Coal Kills: Health Impacts of Air Pollution from India’s Cal Expansion (Mumbai: 2014).

46. BP, op. cit. note 1; some 80 percent of electricity from DOE, EIA, International Energy Outlook 2013: With Projections to 2040 (Washington, DC: July 2013), p. 103; Lauri Myllyvirta, “China’s Coal Use Might Just Have Dropped First Time This Century,” blog, Greenpeace East Asia, 7 August 2014; Damian Carrington, “China’s Coal Use Falls for the First Time this Century, Analysis Suggests,” (London) Guardian, 22 October 2014; Tim Buckley, “China’s Declining Coal Dependence is Evident in the Data,” Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Cleveland, OH: 6 January 2015.

47. Public anger over pollutants from Juli Makinen, “China’s Battle Plans in War on Air Pollution Under Scrutiny,” Los Angeles Times, 10 September 2014; Li Shuo and Lauri Myllyvirta, The End of China’s Coal Boom (Greenpeace East Asia, April 2014), pp. 3, 9; North China Plain water table falling from Michael Ma, “Northern Cities Sinking as Water Table Falls,” South China Morning Post, 11 August 2001; Hal Bernton, “China’s Thirsty Coal Industry Guzzles Precious Water,” Seattle Times, 16 May 2014; Coco Liu, “Water Demands of Coal-fired Power Drying up Northern China,” ClimateWire, 25 March 2013; Lester R. Brown, “Can the World Feed China?” Plan B Update (Washington, DC: Earth Policy Institute, 25 February 2014).

48. Anthony Yuen et al., The Unimaginable: Peak Coal in China (Citi Research, September 2013); China wind from Global Wind Energy Council, Global Wind Report: Annual Market Update 2013 (Brussels: 2014), pp. 17–18; solar PV capacity data from BP, op. cit. note 1.

49. Three provinces and three cities pledge from Li and Myllyvirta, op. cit. note 47, p. 4; “China to Ban All Coal Use in Beijing by 2020,” Associated Press, 5 August 2014; David Nakamura and Steven Mufson, “China, U.S. Agree to Limit Greenhouse Gases,” Washington Post, 12 November 2014; Edward Wong, “In Step to Lower Carbon Emissions, China Will Place a Limit on Coal Use in 2020,” New York Times, 20 November 2014.

50. Fayen Wong, “China to Again Levy Coal Import Tariffs after Nearly a Decade,” Reuters, 9 October 2014; China large coal producer from BP, op. cit. note 1; China is a leading importer from DOE, EIA, International Energy Statistics, electronic database, at www.eia.gov/cfapps/ipdbproject, viewed 8 July 2014, and from IEA, Coal Information 2014 (Paris: 2014), p. II–14; Scott Murdoch, “China’s Decision to Scrap Tariffs on Australian Coal Surprises Analysts,” Australian Business Review, 23 October 2014; Matt Siegel, “Australia, China Deepen Ties with Landmark Free Trade Deal,” Reuters, 17 November 2014; Oliver Milman, “China’s Ban on ‘Dirty’ Coal Could Cost Australian Mining Almost $1.5bn,” (London) Guardian, 16 September 2014.

51. IEA, op. cit. note 50, pp. IV–103–04, V–25; Australia’s coal use down from BP, op. cit. note 1; coal unpopular from The Climate Institute, “Preferred Energy Sources,” fact sheet (Sydney: July 2012); Gabrielle Chan, “Tony Abbott Says ‘Coal is Good for Humanity’ While Opening Mine,” (London) Guardian, 13 October 2014; Cole Latimer, “Coal Mining Increases in NSW,” Mining Australia, 5 August 2014; James Regan, “Australia’s Queensland Coal Exports Hit Record as Glut Mounts,” Reuters, 13 October 2014; Peter Hannam, “Australia Bets on Coal as Climate Policy Crumbles,” Sydney Morning Herald, 26 July 2014.

52. Coal companies looking to markets abroad from Pilita Clark, “The Toll on Coal,” Financial Times, 30 September 2013; U.S. coal exports going to China from U.S. International Trade Commission, Interactive Tariff and Trade DataWeb, electronic database, at dataweb.usitc.gov, updated September 2014; overall U.S. coal exports DOE, EIA, Monthly Energy Review, November 2014.

53. U.S. Department of the Interior, U. S. Geological Survey, “Assessment of Coal Geology, Resources, and Reserve Base in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming and Montana,” fact sheet (Washington, DC: February 2013); BC exports from Manuel Quinones, “Coal: Swelling Exports Shine Spotlight on Port Pollution,” Greenwire, 29 June 2012; Seattle also exports coal from DOE, EIA, “Six Seaports Account for 94% of U.S. Coal Exports, which are Dominated by Coking Coal,” Today in Energy, 8 November 2011; western coal limited to Seattle and BC from DOE, EIA, “Europe and Asia Are the Leading Destinations for U.S. Coal Exports in 2012,” Today in Energy, 15 November 2012; 44 million tons from State of Washington, Department of Ecology, “Millennium Bulk Terminals Longview (MBTL) Proposal,” at www.ecy.wa.gov/geographic/millennium, viewed 14 September 2014; 54 million tons from State of Washington, Department of Ecology, “Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point Proposal,” at www.ecy.wa.gov/geographic/gatewaypacific, viewed 14 September 2014; Manuel Quinones, “Coal: Swelling Exports Shine Spotlight on Port Pollution,” Greenwire, 29 June 2012.

54. Sierra Club working with Natural Resources Defense Council and others from Sierra Club, “Stopping Coal Exports,” at content.sierraclub.org/environmentallaw/category/stopping-coal-exports, viewed 14 September 2014; Cesia Kearns quote from Quinones, op. cit. note 53.

55. Quinones, op. cit. note 53.

56. David Steves, “Wall Street Giant Backs Away from Washington Coal Export Project,” OPB, 7 January 2014; Gulf from Tom Kenworthy, “Coal Could Suffer Major Setback In The Deep South,” Climate Progress, blog, at thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/22/3579774/coal-exports-battle, 22 October 2014.