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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down 712

cartechboy writes "What's $50 billion among friends, right? At least Felix Kramer and Gil Friend are thinking big, so there is that. The pair have published an somewhat audacious proposal to spend $50 billion dollars to buy up and then shut down every single private and public coal company operating in the United States. The scientific benefits: eliminating acid rain, airborne emissions, etc). The shutdown proposal includes the costs of retraining for the approximately 87,000 coal-industry workers who would lose their jobs over the proposed 10-year phaseout of coal. Since Kramer and Friend don't have $50 billion, they suggest the concept could be funded as a public service and if governments can't do it maybe some rich guys can — and the names Gates, Buffett and Bloomberg come up. Any takers?"
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Environmentalists Propose $50 Billion Buyout of Coal Industry - To Shut It Down

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  • by stonecypher ( 118140 ) <stonecypher@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @01:35PM (#46465787) Homepage Journal

    For one, more plants would just spring up. Even if part of the buyout was "you may never go into coal again," someone else may. The economic structure of energy is why coal is still king, and buying out the current players won't change that.

    For two, the cost of shutting that industry down does not cover the cost of starting new energy industries to replace it. Or were we just going to go without 37% of our electricity?

    For three, coal works efficiently and predictably at far smaller scale than most energy technologies. Many of the locations coal services today cannot be practically services by other generation methods.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @01:35PM (#46465797)
    Just google U.N. Agenda 21. It is a blatant attempt by the liberal left to install a global socialistic government and destroy the freedom's our country has fought so hard to protect. It must be stopped.
  • by SYSS Mouse ( 694626 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @01:41PM (#46465901) Homepage

    I assume the proposal just assume coal industry to produce electricity, but there is more than that, The iron industry and steelmaking industry also uses coal.

  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @01:42PM (#46465935)

    According to the US Energy Administration...

      In 2012, the United States generated about 4,054 billion kilowatthours of electricity. About 68% of the electricity generated was from fossil fuel (coal, natural gas, and petroleum), with 37% attributed from coal.

    Energy sources and percent share of total electricity generation in 2012 were:

            Coal 37%
            Natural Gas 30%
            Nuclear 19%
            Hydropower 7%
            Other Renewable 5%
                    Biomass 1.42%
                    Geothermal 0.41%
                    Solar 0.11%
                    Wind 3.46%
            Petroleum 1%
            Other Gases 1%

  • by AGMW ( 594303 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @01:49PM (#46466063) Homepage
    Obviously carefully stepping over the fact that the previous labour government (Callaghan was it?) shut more mines than Thatcher because, and here's the kicker, they were uneconomic! It cost more to dig up the coal than the coal was worth, and we could get coal cheaper from elsewhere, including the damn shipping costs! ... no really!

    Had Scargill not tried to bring down the elected government by flexing the miner's muscle maybe the scenes of violence could have been avoided, but I'll grant you that anywhere the Met (London Police) got brought in it turned nasty, but that's more a reflection of the Met than Thatcher - the Met are _still_ a little too handy with their fists (see Ian Tomlinson [wikipedia.org])

  • by PlusFiveTroll ( 754249 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @01:50PM (#46466077) Homepage

    Panels, panels are useless. Batteries and power storage is the question. Not very many is the answer.

  • Get real (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @02:01PM (#46466199)

    What are you going to do with the ~37% loss in energy production?

    This would take decades to phase out and far more than 50 billion dollars.

    Click bait

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @02:04PM (#46466231)

    I have an uncle that is an ex-GE now consulting engineer in the coal power plant industry.

    Many power plants are dual fuel: coal or NG. They run whatever is cheaper. And the thing is, at least with modern equipment coal burns as clean as Natural Gas. It even scrubs the metals out of the emissions: no mercury being emitted - or at least 99% of it.

    Coal gets a bad rap because of its history and China - they're using 19th Century technology.

    You know, General Electric is doing some great things with fossil fuels AND "Green" energy. It royally pisses me off when I hear "Green" energy (solar, wind, geothermal, hydro) labeled as "Liberal" when in fact it's the MOST capitalistic industry out there.

    If anyone calls "Green" energy a "liberal" cause, they are just expressing their ignorance.

  • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @02:23PM (#46466477) Journal
    New York City is one of the most electrically efficient places in the U.S. It would take 85 square miles of solar panels to power NYC assuming 4 hours of bright direct sunlight per day, every day of the year on each panel. The area under those 85 square miles will be, at best, in permanent shadow. Where are you going to put the panels so that they receive such good sunshine? What will the environmental effects be? How will you keep snow, ice, dust, dirt, bird shit, etc. off them? How will you prevent vandalization?
  • by NoImNotNineVolt ( 832851 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @02:27PM (#46466537) Homepage
    According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

    "The mining law applies to some mineral products, but not others, and the list has changed over time. Since 1920, the list of locatable minerals does not include petroleum, coal, phosphate, sodium, and potassium. Rights to explore for and extract these are leased through competitive bidding." (Emphasis mine)
  • by coolsnowmen ( 695297 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @02:48PM (#46466821)

    +1 for peaking my curiosity.

    I found this: http://www.eia.gov/state/maps.... [eia.gov] [which is surprisingly decent]

  • by JDS13 ( 1236704 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @03:06PM (#46467017)

    > when it comes to talk about cutting these subsidies, the "big oil" boyz are all against it.

    I don't know what "subsidies" you're referring to. I've never seen this in any formal statement from a major oil company. Exxon remains one of the world's biggest taxpayers, with an effective tax rate of 46% of gross margin. In 2013, they paid $30.6 billion in sales-based taxes, $33.2 billion in other taxes, and $24.3 billion in income taxes. (That is, those taxes were included in the price of Exxon's products.)

    But the fact is that no business really pays taxes. They're passed along to customers in higher prices, to shareholders in reduced returns, to employees in lower wages. The net effect is a reduction in wealth for all three constituencies.

  • by DaveAtFraud ( 460127 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @04:42PM (#46468143) Homepage Journal

    No, Thatcher and Reagan got it the most wrong of all. Not as wrong as Mao, but incredibly wrong by liberal standards.

    Fixed that for you. You seem to assume that your liberal leanings are Western standards. Not.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 12, 2014 @05:39PM (#46468741)

    Those European conservatives are left wing in the US.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.