Although coal plant shutdowns have resulted more from low natural gas prices than from regulations directed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions, coal plant owners and operators who ignore climate change do so at their peril. The author of this article offers three important reasons to factor climate change into coal plant shutdowns.
Climate change and coal plant shutdowns: conventional industry wisdom is that they are not related. The Brookings Institute makes this point starkly: “the war on coal is a false narrative that oversimplifies what is happening in the energy economy. In blaming environmental regulations under the Obama administration as the sole reason for the recent turmoil in the coal industry, [the current administration is] ignoring fundamental market realities that are buffeting the industry.”1 Michael Bloomberg concurs: “Today, coal is simply not competitive.…[G]overnments and non-profit organizations are not leading the war on coal. The market is.”2