Your home heating prices will go up because Giant Yam won’t bring back coal jobs

By ann summers

Clueless natural Gasbag’s “post-truth” promises to cull votes with more coal jobs will now make your home heating prices go up with little effect on returning coal jobs to the US coal belt. But that was never the point in the framing of an anti-Hillary message in coal country.

While an expert in luxury land-rents, Trump is clueless about competing energy sources and why social costs are much higher than making room reservations and commodifying hospitality. The middle class reliance on natural gas home heating will drive prices up as exports will increase in spite of nativist rhetoric about energy self-reliance.

And of course this little boondoggle also drives up profits for …wait… Russian and central Asian energy corporations.


… there’s little a President Donald Trump could do to improve coal’s prospects or to save the jobs of coal miners by ending a government war on coal. To keep his campaign promise to revive the coal industry, he has to find a way raise the price of natural gas.

“The only thing that’s going to help these coal-fired power plants stay open and keep operating is if the price of natural gas goes up,” Cicala said in a podcast released Friday by the Energy Policy Institute of Chicago. “That’s the only thing that’s going to make it economical to be firing up these plants.”

The president has limited power to affect gas prices, especially with most of America’s gas flowing from fracked domestic wells on private property.

But the government could promote natural-gas exports, which would bring the domestic price into closer balance with the price in Europe, where gas costs twice as much, and in Japan, where it costs four times as much.

That would raise prices for Americans who use gas to heat their homes, and it might help the coal industry.

But it also might not, because renewables, also suppressed by low gas prices, are likely to seize much of the opportunity.

“In that sense,” added environmental economist and EPIC executive director Sam Ori, “it doesn’t really seem like there’s much a President Trump can do to bring back those coal jobs.”

During the campaign, Trump’s energy plan focused on removing bureaucratic and political barriers to oil and gas development in the U.S., citing North Dakota’s fracking revolution as its primary example of American energy potential.

But he also promised a coal revival, telling coal miners in West Virginia to “get ready because you’re going to be working your asses off.”

Coal and natural gas generation shares over the past decade have been responsive to changes in relative fuel prices. For example, particularly low natural gas prices throughout much of 2012 following an extremely mild 2011–12 winter led to a significant rise in the natural gas generation share between 2011 and 2012, often displacing coal-fired generation. With higher natural gas prices in 2013 and 2014, coal regained some of its generation share. However, with a return to lower natural gas prices in 2015 favoring increased natural gas-fired generation, coal’s generation share dropped again.Environmental regulations affecting power plants have played a secondary role in driving coal’s declining generation share over the past decade, although plant owners in some states have made investments to shift generation toward natural gas at least partly for environmental reasons. Looking forward, environmental regulations may play a larger role in conjunction with market forces.Owners of some coal plants will face decisions to either retire units or reduce their utilization rate to comply with requirements to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants under the Clean Power Plan, which is scheduled to take effect in 2022 but has recently been stayed by the Supreme Court pending the outcome of ongoing litigation.

Beyond the growing market share for natural gas-fired generation over the past decade, coal’s generation share has also been reduced by the growing market share of renewables other than hydroelectric power, especially wind and solar. Unlike the growth of natural gas-fired generation, which has largely been market-driven, increased use of nonhydro renewables has largely been driven by a combination of state and federal policies. The use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar has also grown rapidly in recent years so that generation from these types of renewables is now surpassing generation from hydropower.…

The March 2016 STEO expects that the combination of market forces and government policies will continue to stimulate the use of natural gas and nonhydro renewables for power generation. In EIA’s forecast, natural gas provides 33% of generation in 2016 while coal’s share falls to 32%. The expected share of nonhydro renewables increases to 8% in 2016, with hydropower’s share at 6%.…

“China and Russia recently finalized a natural gas agreement that allows China to purchase and transport gas from eastern Russia through a proposed pipeline. The deal, valued at approximately $400 billion, will supply China with up to 1.3 Tcf of natural gas per year starting in 2018.”

Environmental group Greenpeace said the rules, if fully implemented, could involve up to 250 power projects with a total of 170 gigawatts (GW) in capacity, according to initial estimates.

“China is finally beginning to clamp down on its out of control coal power bubble,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, Greenpeace’s senior campaigner on coal, in an emailed statement.

“However, these new measures fall far short of even halting the build-up of overcapacity in coal-fired power generation, let alone beginning to reduce it,” he said.


China’s total generation capacity reached 1,485.8 GW by the end of February, up 11.8 percent year on year, according to the latest figures. Thermal power, which mostly consists of coal-fired capacity, rose 9.4 percent on the year to 1,003.8 GW.

China aims to raise the share of non-fossil fuels to 15 percent of total primary energy by 2020, up from 12 percent at the end of last year.

China, which accounts for almost 30 per cent of global carbon pollution, pledged to peak its emissions around 2030 as part of the climate pact adopted in Paris last year.

Many analysts say China’s peak is likely to come much earlier – and may already have occurred. Environmental officials in Beijing said that a key indicator of poor air quality – the density of the particulate matter PM2.5 – decreased in the first 10 months of 2016 year-on-year.


and all those free trade trolls insisting that US LNG or natural gas would go to places like China, ignore their closer geographic supply sources. What a time to rattle sabers over a trade war sans comparative advantages.

Then again industrial policy to the GOP & Trump are much like their ethno-nationalism’s hope to reconcile their inability to rise above zero-growth demographics … because foreigners but really because … POC fertility. And of course Orange Gasbag wants to scrap all environmental agreements because … the GOP’s unicorn free market.

Whenever the U.S. feels pressure from rising competition, especially from Asia, calls erupt that Washington should do what Asian policymakers supposedly do – foster the development of certain industries, or “pick winners.” The U.S. has generally avoided going down that road. Such a strategy has run counter to America ideas of free enterprise. Government officials, Americans believe, can do more harm than good when they stick their fingers into matters of markets and private business.

But does the U.S., as Wiesen argues, finally need to get past its ideological hang-ups to compete in the 21st century?

Does the U.S. need an industrial policy?

The American fascination with industrial policy is very much a result of the rise of Asia, and originally Japan. In the 1960s and 1970s, the bureaucrats in Tokyo were the patron saints of modern industrial policy, who employed special loans, trade protection and other methods of support to nurture new industries that could compete in international markets. Beginning in the 1970s, American scholars and businessmen looked in wonder at the rapid emergence of Japanese companies in sectors such as steel, shipbuilding and semiconductors and credited Japan’s industrial policy. That’s when the calls began in the U.S. urging Washington to adopt similar policies, or lose out to Japan and its supposed superior economic model. Now the argument has been resurrected. This time, the country to mimic is a rising China, with its supposedly superior form of state capitalism.

Oh darn, statist capitalism, maybe of a neoliberal stripe… darn that regulation and those pesky environmental costs.

The environmental campaign group Greenpeace East Asia reported that levels of the heavy metals arsenic, cadmium and lead in the PM2.5 in Beijing had fallen rapidly since 2013. It said the decline was directly linked to the closure of coal-fired power plants around the city.

US president-elect Donald Trump has sent mixed signals about whether he will withdraw from commitments to curb greenhouse gases that, according to scientists, are causing the earth’s temperature to rise. Trump once declared that the concept of global warming was “created” by China in order to hurt US manufacturing. With the future of US support for the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change in question, China is poised as an unlikely leader in the international effort against climate change.

China also continues to invest in natural gas pipeline infrastructure that will link production areas in the western and northern regions to demand centers along the coast. This new infrastructure will accommodate greater imports from neighboring countries. In 2010, the first pipeline imports flowed to China from Turkmenistan through the Central Asia Gas Pipeline (CAGP), and by 2013, natural gas supplies from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan reached 974 Bcf. In 2013, China added natural gas imports from Kazakhstan through the CAGP and Myanmar through a newly built pipeline. China and Russia recently finalized a natural gas agreement that allows China to purchase and transport gas from eastern Russia through a proposed pipeline. The deal, valued at approximately $400 billion, will supply China with up to 1.3 Tcf of natural gas per year starting in 2018.China’s potential wealth of shale gas, coalbed methane, and coal-to-gas resources has spurred the government to invest and partner with foreign companies that have technical expertise to unlock these reserves. According to EIA estimates, China holds the largest reserves of technically recoverable shale gas in the world, although investors face geological, technical and water resource challenges, regulatory hurdles, transportation constraints, and competition with other…


This entry was posted in Austerity, Big Oil, Capitalism, China, Climate Change Deniers, Climatology, Denialism, Economics, environment, Foreign Policy, History, Imperialism, Investing, Japan, Media, Political Science, Politics, poverty, Russia, Society, Uncategorized, United States. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Your home heating prices will go up because Giant Yam won’t bring back coal jobs

  1. pete says:

    I heard Trump is going to create a Strategic Coal Reserve. After they dig it up in West Virginia they will transport it to Texas and bury it.

    Think bigly.

  2. wordcloud9 says:

    Will he turn the giant hole in West Virginia into a concentration camp for anybody who says really nasty things about him? (It won’t be nearly big enough)

Comments are closed.