Oct 10, 2019

The coal industry hits natural gas on climate change concerns

Amy Harder, author of Generate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

America's beleaguered coal industry is attacking natural gas for its role in fueling climate change.

Between the lines: It’s ironic because coal is considered far more damaging to the climate than gas.

  • Coal's new attack — via a blog post by a prominent trade group — shows the desperate measures the industry is taking as it loses market share to gas and faces increasing criticism over its climate effects.

The big picture: Gas emits far less CO2 when burned than coal, but its primary component — methane — is also a potent greenhouse gas that can escape during production and transport.

Driving the news: The National Mining Association's blog post argues that as gas has become the country's largest power source, higher CO2 emissions from gas-fired generation make it "a leading contributor to the challenge.”

What they’re saying: “That’s apparently news to the oil and natural gas industry,” the post argues.

  • It adds: “One ad after another positions natural gas as the key emissions solution. Why debate the environmental merits of fracking when you can step on the head of the coal industry to prove your value in a carbon-constrained world?”

Reality check: On a per-unit basis, coal creates more carbon dioxide, which is by far the most prevalent greenhouse gas, compared to oil and gas.

Go deeper: With natural gas on the rise, U.S. market is moving against coal

Go deeper

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Protesters on Tuesday evening by the metal fence recently erected outside the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday night across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse for mostly after curfews were in force in cities including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Portland — where police used pepper spray and flash bangs on a group throwing projectiles at them during an "unlawful assembly," per KATU. Portland police said this group was separate to the thousands of demonstrators who protested peacefully elsewhere in the city.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.