May 3, 2017

There won't be a great coal comeback

Coal mining jobs dropped almost 8% in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same period last year, according to Labor Department data obtained by Axios.

Reality check: The coal industry in the U.S. is not going to have a big and lasting comeback. Any upward tick will be peripheral and temporary, and mostly driven by market trends like natural gas prices and coal demand in China, not Trump's rhetoric and his efforts to repeal Obama-era environmental rules.

What they're saying: "I have no illusion we'll suddenly go back to the production we were at five years ago," Colin Marshall, CEO of Cloud Peak Energy, one of the biggest coal producers in the U.S., said in a recent interview with Axios.

Data: Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

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The decade that blew up energy predictions

Illustration: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

America’s energy sources, like booming oil and crumbling coal, have defied projections and historical precedents over the last decade.

Why it matters: It shows how change can happen rapidly and unexpectedly, even in an industry known to move gradually and predictably. With a new decade upon us, let’s look back at the last one’s biggest, most surprising energy changes.

Go deeperArrowDec 23, 2019

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell by estimated 2.1% in 2019

Power lines in California in 2019. Photo: Jane Tyska/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.1% in 2019 due to a decrease in national coal consumption, according to estimates from the Rhodium Group released Tuesday.

Why it matters: Power generated from coal plants fell by a record 18%, and overall emissions from the power section declined by almost 10% — despite an increase in emissions from natural gas.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020

Despite Trump, Congress boosts clean energy funding

Congress is set to pass a budget doubling down on a years-long trend of increasing clean-energy funding, despite President Trump's repeated attempts to cut spending.

Driving the news: The spending bill the House passed on Tuesday would increase energy research spending nearly 14% compared to this year’s levels and more than 50% compared to 2014.

Go deeperArrowDec 18, 2019