How did a billionaire win over coal miners in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to become president? Three words: “Trump digs coal”. By linking deindustrialisation and the decline of working communities in America’s “rust belt” to environmental regulation, Donald Trump could paint his greener rivals as out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans. Never mind that climate change and pollution will hit working class people hardest – when it’s “jobs or the planet”, the former will always be a more immediate worry for the precarious and impoverished. Matt Perry reports for The Conversation
How do communities deal with the energy transition, in particular the loss of mining jobs? Ben Paulos takes a look at the documentary After Coal and two coal-dependent communities in Wales and Kentucky.
Vattenfall has failed to find a buyer for its coal assets in Germany. The focus is now on alternative models, such as a fund to protect workers. Craig Morris explains.
A proposal by energy think tank Agora Energiewende for phasing out coal in Germany by 2040 aims for a grand political compromise. It is well-considered in terms of policy, yet a viable coal consensus will nevertheless require continued pressure from the bottom up, finds Stefanie Groll.
On August 6, the new Polish president – Andrzej Duda, from the right-wing and anti European Law and Justice Party (PiS) – will be sworn into office. And if the current political winds do not change, we can expect a substantial shift in the Polish parliament after the general elections in the fall, warns Michał Olszewski. Current polls suggest that the PiS will gain a significant margin. Pessimists warn that we should be prepared for a “Hungarian scenario”.
This month, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the European Climate Foundation presented a study conducted by Germany’s Institute for Economic Research (DIW). It found that Germany could reduce its carbon emissions considerably and stabilize the power market by shutting down numerous coal plants. Nonetheless, it is unclear whether the government will heed the findings, as Craig Morris explains.
Germany’s power plants fired with hard coal might soon run for fewer and fewer hours each year, being increasingly offset by renewables. Now, a labor union has called on power firms to sell these power plants to a “national company” as hard coal is phased out. Craig Morris says the firms like the idea.
Just a few weeks after complaining about how French labor unions don’t support renewables, Craig Morris now gets to eat his hat. He says he’s glad to do so if it helps get the word out that France’s energy transition will create more than 600,000 jobs by 2030.
In Germany, labor unions are strong supporters of renewables, which is not the case everywhere. A recent paper by a German labor union leader explains the history, which is a good example of the struggle between midsize firms and large corporations, says Craig Morris.