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Trump called it an end to "the war on coal," which makes a great sound bite, but clouds the issue. What really matters is finding an energy strategy that will work for the future.
The best way to do that is to follow the money.
Oil Is Fading Into History, but Coal Is Almost Gone
Two years ago, I wrote a column arguing that oil is in steady, irreversible decline in terms of importance to the world economy. Its premise was basically that megatrends driving growth in intellectual property businesses like technology, bioscience and media are inevitably reducing the economic role of oil.
The clearest proof of this can be seen in the huge increase in GDP per barrel of oil since 1980, which shows ever more money being made without reliance on petroleum.
Coal is in even worse shape as an economic agent going forward. Where once coal drove the industrial revolution in Britain and fueled decades of expansion in the United States, its recent history reads more like that of the horse-and-buggy.
Coal’s top three current uses, according to the World Coal Association, are electricity generation, steel production and cement manufacturing. These are not exactly IP-intensive, futuristic industries.
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