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Data: U.S. Energy Information Administration; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. coal production is still slated for a bounce-back from the pandemic lows, but it may be smaller than federal analysts previously thought.

Driving the news: The latest Energy Information Administration estimates show U.S. production rising 9% this year, down from their prior guess of 12%.

The big picture: The long-term trend for coal, once the largest U.S. power source, is still downward.

  • But as I noted here, expected increases in coal and oil output in 2021 and 2022 illustrate an irony. President Biden, who has vowed aggressive steps on climate change, is initially likely to preside over an increase in coal and oil production.
  • Sources that took the biggest pandemic hits return to some degree. Market forces — namely projections of natural gas prices — are at play in coal's mini-rebound, per EIA. 

By the numbers: EIA sees annual U.S. coal production rising this year to 589 million short tons, and ticking up slightly again in 2022.

  • Its share of power generation is projected to rise from 20% last year to 22% in 2022. But it provided well over half of U.S. power earlier this century.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Feb 9, 2021 - Energy & Environment

India's energy surge makes it pivotal for the climate

Reproduced from India Energy Outlook 2021, IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

India is projected to see the biggest increase in energy demand of any country over the next 20 years, a new International Energy Agency report finds.

Why it matters: It's already the third-largest energy-consuming nation, even as per-capita energy use, car ownership and other metrics are far below the global average.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Feb 9, 2021 - Economy & Business

Oil giant Total rebrands and boosts renewables spend

Photo: Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The huge multinational oil-and-gas company Total on Tuesday unveiled new information about its diversification efforts — and the company's changing its name too.

Driving the news: Total said over 20% of its expected $12.1 billion in net spending in 2021 will be devoted to renewables and other electricity-related investments.

Police officers' immunity from lawsuits is getting a fresh look

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly a year after the death of George Floyd, advocates of changes in police practices are launching new moves to limit or eliminate legal liability protections for officers accused of excessive force.

Why it matters: Revising or eliminating qualified immunity — the shield police officers have now — could force officers accused of excessive force to personally face civil penalties in addition to their departments. But such a change could intensify a nationwide police officer shortage, critics say.