On the Blogs: Bankrupt Coal Companies Don’t Always Stop Mining Coal

first_imgOn the Blogs: Bankrupt Coal Companies Don’t Always Stop Mining Coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Daniel Cohan for TheHill.com:The largest pillar of the coal industry has now fallen. In filing for bankruptcy last week, Peabody Energy joined Arch Coal, Patriot Coal, Walter Energy and Alpha Natural Resources among the largest coal mining companies recently facing this fate.Coal emits more air pollutants and climate warming gases than any other fossil fuel, and its mining can devastate local ecosystems and watersheds. Curtailing the amounts of coal mined and burned would thus yield a myriad of benefits for the environment and health.However, the road to bankruptcy court doesn’t necessarily mark the path to a sustainable energy future. It is time to think afresh about how the environment and health can be considered in coal bankruptcies.Like most of its peers, Peabody chose Chapter 11 for its bankruptcy filing. Unlike a Chapter 7 liquidation, Chapter 11 allows a company to continue operating while it manages its debts and seeks to emerge as a viable corporation. Peabody’s statement said it intends to continue operating its mines uninterrupted as the bankruptcy process proceeds.Thus, while bankruptcy can crimp the finances of creditors and investors, it won’t necessarily cut coal mine output. In fact, coal companies seeking to pay off creditors may face pressure to maintain revenues from coal.The challenge of maintaining revenue has grown as coal prices have fallen. Coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, widely used for its low sulfur content, has fallen to $9.35 per ton. I’d call it dirt cheap if I knew anywhere selling dirt for less than half a penny per pound.With coal so cheap, its sales likely generate far less revenue than its damage to health and the environment. Since coal is composed primarily of carbon atoms, each of which combines with two oxygen atoms to form carbon dioxide, burning coal generates about 1.87 times its own weight in carbon dioxide.In other words, Powder River Basin coal mines are receiving only about $5 per ton of carbon dioxide that their coal generates when burned. The revenue per ton of pollution would be even lower if we consider life cycle impacts such as the diesel emissions needed to mine and transport the coal and the methane released from the mine.Virtually all estimates of the social cost of carbon to climate change are many times higher than $5 per ton. That’s even before considering environmental impacts beyond climate such as damage to air quality, water and wildlife.In other words, society as a whole pays a very high price as coal mining companies seek to pay off their creditors in bankruptcy. It could even be argued that a domino effect of coal mining bankruptcies has taken hold, as the urgency of already-bankrupt companies to pay off creditors has kept coal mine output from falling sufficiently. Though coal mining is down sharply, unusually large stockpiles of coal show that mining has not fallen fast enough to offset the effects of cheap natural gas and growing deployments of renewables.Bankrupt coal companies create an additional burden if they do not cover the environmental damages they have caused. Communities near coal mines have reason to be concerned about whether adequate steps will be taken to remediate coal mines owned by bankrupt companies.All of these factors receive insufficient attention in bankruptcy proceedings, as repayment of creditors and restructuring of debts dominates deliberations. How best to give the environment and public health seats at the table in bankruptcy court requires legal expertise far beyond my training as an environmental engineer. Nevertheless, the prices and emissions calculations provided here demonstrate that the coal assets owned by these bankrupt companies may be far more valuable to society if left in the ground rather than mined to pay off creditors.Cohan is associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University.When coal companies go bankrupt, the mining doesn’t always stoplast_img read more

Liverpool return to Anfield as Man City aim to prolong title wait

first_imgBruno Fernandes could start alongside Paul Pogba for Manchester United for the first time on Wednesday Depending on the outcome of City’s appeal against a two-season ban from European competition, fifth place could be good enough to qualify for next season’s Champions League. United are in pole position to take advantage of their local rivals’ punishment and made an impressive return despite being held to a 1-1 draw at Tottenham on Friday. Paul Pogba won the penalty, converted by Bruno Fernandes, for United’s equaliser on his first appearance since December 26 as a substitute. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is expected to pair the two star midfielders together from the start for the first time against Sheffield United on Wednesday. Read Also: La Liga: Barcelona boss Setien questions use of VAR The Blades have taken just one point from their opening two games of the restart, but can still move above the Red Devils with victory at Old Trafford. Wolves picked up where they left off by beating West Ham 2-0 to move into the top six and will be confident of another victory when they host Bournemouth at Molineux. Fixtures (all times GMT) Tuesday Leicester v Brighton (1700), Tottenham v West Ham (1915) Wednesday Manchester United v Sheffield United, Newcastle v Aston Villa, Norwich v Everton, Wolves v Bournemouth (1700), Liverpool v Crystal Palace (1915) Thursday Southampton v Arsenal, Burnley v Watford (1700), Chelsea v Manchester City (1915) FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Liverpool’s 30-year wait to win the English title could come to an end this week, but the Reds must rely on Manchester City dropping points at Chelsea. Liverpool could seal a first Premier League title in 30 years this week Jurgen Klopp’s men host Crystal Palace in the first Premier League game at Anfield for 110 days. A 0-0 draw at Everton in their first match for three months on Sunday means the champagne will remain on ice even if Liverpool return to winning ways. However, victory for Klopp’s side will leave City needing to win at Stamford Bridge 24 hours later to deny Liverpool the title. Palace were the last team visiting team to win a league match at Anfield over three years ago. The Eagles impressed in their comeback with a 2-0 win at Bournemouth on Saturday to close to within four points of the European places and Klopp was impressed with what he saw. “I saw Crystal Palace and they look like a proper-oiled machine,” said the German. “They have four times in a row now a clean sheet, so it will be a tough job 100 per cent, I know that. But that is how the Premier League is always, so no problem with that.” Liverpool are hopeful of having Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson back fit after both were badly missed in the Merseyside derby. City’s strength in depth was on show as Pep Guardiola was able to make eight changes for Monday’s 5-0 thrashing of Burnley. Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling are among those expected to come back into the side for the stiffer test of Chelsea, who will be looking to cement their place in the top four. Frank Lampard’s men came from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Sunday to open up a five-point lead over Manchester United and Wolves. “Now we have three points when some teams have lost points around us,” said Lampard. “We played well in patches but when they put us under pressure slightly, I thought we gave it away too easily – things we will definitely have to clean up on in the future games coming up.” – Pogba back – Loading…last_img read more