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Expand chart
Reproduced from Moody's; Chart: Axios Visuals

No matter what President Trump says, coal in America isn’t coming back — and it’s bringing other industries down with it.

Driving the news: Coal demand for electricity is likely to drop by more than 50% in 11 years, according to a report by the rating agency Moody's. In turn, revenue from transporting that coal around the country via trains is expected to drop $5 billion by 2030, or 5.5% of the railroad industry’s 2018 revenue.

The big picture: Coal’s dramatic decline is fueled by several factors: cheaper natural gas and renewable electricity, tougher environmental regulations in the Obama administration and the global shift to cleaner sources of energy in the face of climate change.

One level deeper: Because of the industry's outsized dependence on coal, the fossil fuel’s decline is hitting railroads especially hard. Coal makes up 13% of total freight volume, which is the largest single freight commodity moved by rail.

  • 4 railway companies, led by CSX and Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF), get more than 10% of their revenue from coal and are thus most at risk for revenue hits.
  • CSX gets nearly 20% of its revenue from coal, while BNSF gets nearly 17%.
  • Moody’s says credit effects for U.S. railroad companies "are likely manageable if the [coal] decline remains gradual."

Go deeper: Moody's developing new rating system to assess companies' "carbon risks"

Go deeper

1 min ago - Science

Blizzard likely to hit New England this weekend as "bomb cyclone" forms

Computer model projection of the precipitation and wind field from the weekend storm in the Northeast. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A powerful blizzard is likely to strike parts of New England and the Mid-Atlantic beginning Friday and lasting into the weekend, with snow totals that are likely to be measured in feet.

The big picture: The joining of weather systems embedded in both the polar, or northern branch, of the jet stream and the southern branch is projected to create a bomb cyclone. Such storms undergo a process known as bombogenesis, with their minimum central air pressure readings plunging at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.

Report: Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire

Justice Stephen Breyer. Photo: MANDEL NGAN / AFP via Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire, NBC news first reported on Wednesday, giving President Biden his first — and maybe only — chance to put a stamp on the high court.

What’s next: Appointing a new Supreme Court justice will be one of the longest-lasting pieces of Biden’s legacy — and could give Democrats a jolt of energy ahead of next year's midterms.

Schools desperate for substitute teachers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

School districts and officials nationwide are begging parents to step in, loosening requirements for substitute teachers and, in one case, asking the National Guard for help as last-ditch efforts to stay open amid the latest COVID-19 surge.

Why it matters: Substitute teachers have emerged as a vital part of schools' reopening efforts, but they are in short supply after years of being overlooked and undervalued.