Stories by Amy Harder

Column / Harder Line

Forget Trump — coal seeks new life in high tech

A lump of coal on top of a circuit board
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Randy Atkins is trying to make coal great again, but not how President Trump has promised.

The intrigue: Atkins’ company, Ramaco Carbon, is working to open what would be Wyoming’s first coal mine devoted not to electricity, but to high-tech products like carbon fiber or 3D printing material. Atkins represents the leading edge of what could be a new, high-value market for coal after decades of being America’s cheapest power source.

Beer from heaven

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Technology behind capturing carbon dioxide emissions and turning them into everyday products — everything from lipstick to concrete — is getting a multi-million dollar boost in a new initiative led by the University of Michigan.

Why it matters: These technologies, as far-fetched as they may seem, are technically feasible and are increasingly essential in two ways: addressing climate change and prolonging the use of fossil fuels in a carbon-constrained world.

SEC abandoning climate investigation of ExxonMobil

A woman filling up her car at an Exxon station.
Photo: John Gress/Getty Images

The Securities and Exchange Commission is dropping its two-year investigation of ExxonMobil, about whether it misled its investors with regard to the risks greenhouse-gas regulations pose to the company.

Why it matters: This is a significant victory for the oil giant, which is still facing pressure from multiple attorneys general investigations and lawsuits related to its actions and climate change. The news also bodes well for the industry writ large, given any affirmative action by the SEC in this case could have had broad implications.