Coal is the new tobacco

Global warming believers reserve a special disdain for coal-fired power generation to the point analysts say the commodity has replaced nuclear power as the most hated form of energy.

According to Bloomberg, coal miners around the world are being targeted by a mounting number of investors and global organizations, concerned with the greenhouse emissions the industry would generate if the nearly $8 trillion of known coal reserves are extracted in the near future. In other words, coal has become the tobacco industry of our century.

On Monday, in fact, the United Nation’s climate chief Christiana Figueres urged the coal industry to diversify toward cleaner energy sources and leave most of the world's outstanding coal reserves in the ground.

This morning, the UK’s government announced it has decided to stop funding coal projects in developing countries. Speaking at the climate change conference in Poland, energy secretary Ed Davey said the move would help to cut greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries and encourage low-carbon development.

This way the UK follows a group of countries led by the US, China and several other European nations in their war on coal.

Also this week, a group of 27 scientists, representing all major continents, issued a joint statement stating that burning all known fossil-fuel reserves would produce about 3,800 gigatonnes of CO2, or 1,053 GtC, with coal alone accounting for more than half. Simply put, if the world burns its known coal reserves using current technologies, it is likely to push global temperature rise far beyond 2ºC.

But The World Coal Association (WCA), which groups the globe’s coal companies, says the world can’t abandon the black combustible as it generates about 41% of world electricity and is likely to overtake oil as the main source of energy by 2020.

Image by Subbotina Anna