Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Coal's Inevitable Future

A number of years ago, there was a pretty good movie called Other People's Money. Danny DeVito plays the part of this corporate raider who buys worn-out companies and sells off the parts. In the case of the particular company in the movie, he is portrayed as the villain who simply wants to put people out of work. That is, until the stock holder meeting comes along and he explains his position. Suddenly, he isn't the villain anymore. The company manufactured copper cables for telephone lines and there wasn't enough business anymore. As DeVito's character explained it, he wasn't the one putting the company out of business, fiber optics and new technology were.  The company was dead but no one would admit it. The movie has a happy ending when they convert to making the copper mesh that goes into automobile air bags, but the message is clear - times change and companies that don't change with them go away.

Hello, coal! Anyone listening?

Coal is dead but no one wants to sign the death certificate. It wasn't the EPA and government regulations that did it, either. It is new technology. If it was the case of government regulation coal wouldn't be dying in countries all over the world. Yes, some countries are building numerous coal-powered plants, but every one that I've been following has been canceling plants and turning to alternative fuels. It will take a while, but this is an industry on the way out.

Now, like DeVito's character, we simply need to help end it.

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