Activist investors seek to paint coal as the new tobacco

Coal (KOL) may become the new tobacco if activist investors have their way; growing numbers of them, concerned about greenhouse gas emissions, are calling to divest holdings in companies that mine and burn coal.

The U.K. today joined a U.S. commitment to minimize funding of foreign coal-fired power stations and says it will seek wider support for the pledge from other nations and development banks.

What galls the activists: Global demand for coal is not in retreat. In 2011, coal was used to generate 30.3% of the world’s primary energy, the highest level since 1969, and the share slipped only to 29.9% last year.

Like tobacco companies, coal producers may move to paying high dividends to attract investors amid an uncertain longer term future for the fuel.


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Comments (28)
  • healthpicker
    , contributor
    Comments (1098) | Send Message
    Yep, coal is the devil - but like the eternal struggle between good and evil it won't be going away any time soon.
    Look at China - they hosted a big golf tournament recently and you could see the smog on the course. China has 20 Nuclear Power stations under construction and yet coal will continue to be a major source of energy there because of the continuous growing demand for energy.
    The western "developed" countries invented the industrial revolution not that long ago. Two thirds of the world is still trying to get out of poverty.
    All coal burning facilities should be forced to fit new technology that limits the pollution. It can be done. But try enforcing that on the developing nations. Best of luck with that.
    Coal like fossil fuels will be around for quite a while. Those living in low coastal areas should be seriously considering relocation to higher ground.
    "Time and Tide wait for no man".
    20 Nov 2013, 07:14 PM Reply Like
  • a alto
    , contributor
    Comments (364) | Send Message
    The earth was completely covered by water , Most of this water disappeared before man ever burned his first lump of coal ! Fact the earth has been warming for tens of thousands of years , before the industrial revolution ! Saying global warming is mainly caused by fossil fuels is a complete hoax , perpetuated by crooks like Al Gore . These crooked politicians are all trying to line thier pockets from this gigantic hoax . I m long on A.C.I.
    20 Nov 2013, 08:23 PM Reply Like
  • pattershow
    , contributor
    Comments (155) | Send Message
    I agree. We're one cold winter away from politicians revising their positions on what has largely been exposed as junk science.
    20 Nov 2013, 10:29 PM Reply Like
  • Grand Nagus Kelly
    , contributor
    Comments (1838) | Send Message
    I suggest you take a golf vacation in China Mr. Alto.


    What usually happens next is SA will send me a terse email saying my comment was deleted after being reported as either vulgar or racist without an editor reading it.


    20 Nov 2013, 10:30 PM Reply Like
  • Blue Horshoe love Anacot Steel
    , contributor
    Comments (286) | Send Message
    joe kelly, your comment is certainly not vulgar, but if it should be deleted, it should be because it is completely "non-responsive". mr alto is talking about carbon dioxide emissions which are neither dirty nor polluting and are actually a benefit for all things green. you are talking about smog which is caused by sulfur and ash.
    21 Nov 2013, 01:20 PM Reply Like
  • chistletoe
    , contributor
    Comments (271) | Send Message
    um, the cold winter is here ... and the reduction in gas drilling rigs the last few years is going to result in a nasty spike in the price of natty ....and coal ...
    22 Nov 2013, 10:07 AM Reply Like
  • PalmDesertRat
    , contributor
    Comments (3839) | Send Message
    20 years ago, I was involved in the financing of a coal-fired plant in West Virginia which uses CFB boilers and produces emissions well within legal limits.


    The technology exists,it just requires investment and the will to use it.
    20 Nov 2013, 08:29 PM Reply Like
  • freeman8201
    , contributor
    Comments (833) | Send Message
    Man, and here we are still arguing about coal emissions.
    Long (ACI)
    21 Nov 2013, 10:49 AM Reply Like
  • TheJollyGreenMan
    , contributor
    Comments (103) | Send Message
    It is a pity that these activists did not tell the Germans. Currently, Germany is hot commissioning the first coal fired power station since the nuclear power station shutdown decision by Merkel. From now until 2018 they will complete 10 coal fired power stations.


    These activists are barking against thunder, and if they feel so strongly about the over population of the world, why don't they set an example to us all and check in en masse in a Swiss clinic?


    And another piece of propaganda and rubbish. Please tell me where I can get these
    high dividend paying coal stocks?
    21 Nov 2013, 03:20 AM Reply Like
  • geodan85
    , contributor
    Comments (204) | Send Message


    Excellent point about Germany, Europe's largest economy, and an export machine. I have commented on other coal articles that German coal usage is Increasing as they move away from nuclear. The German move away from nuclear, in my opinion, is classic "knee jerk" reaction to the Fukushima disaster and likely misguided since Germany isn't prone to tsunamis and earthquakes.


    Of course, you never hear much from activist investors concerning energy use in the developing world since any complaints about the environment will be ignored (China) as growth and modernization usually win out over environmental concerns.


    Also, is it really better to build nuclear power in regions that are more prone to earthquakes/tsunamis (Asia)? And what about storage of the waste? Sure, you can move to natural gas fired plants which are less dirty, but that increase in build/usage will most certainly increase the price of natural gas over time and make coal the cheaper alternate for energy use in developed countries. Lower costs always win out in electricity and industrial use when individuals and/or businesses are given a choice, unless governments intervene with their arrogant "greater good" argument.


    How the current disaster in the U.S. government's involvement in healthcare will not be irrelevant (or forgotten) when they continue to "help" the country to cleaner energy use. A move away from coal will result in higher energy costs (removing a competing energy source and natural gas is still a depleting commodity) and even potential blackouts (pipelines down for example) since storing natural gas is more complicated than coal.
    21 Nov 2013, 09:30 AM Reply Like
  • freeman8201
    , contributor
    Comments (833) | Send Message
    When there's blood on the streets you become a hungry animal. One of the management, or the ceo, from Arch coal did say on record in a quarterly report that not all growth is coming from asia!


    Nuclear power in Germany accounted for 17.7% of national electricity supply in 2011. (source from wiki)


    Arch investor (ACI). Long. I'm ~46 to 48% down on my holding--the darn thing moves up and down every day. Not reinvesting dividends. Also, arch is partnering or owns a export facility on the east coast. Let's hope the dividends will increase!
    21 Nov 2013, 11:41 AM Reply Like
  • sethmcs
    , contributor
    Comments (3573) | Send Message
    Activists are poor investors. They try to acheive their goals with other peoples money. I made a killing on tobacco and will do the same with coal. Can't wait until these "know what's best for" people go after soda and beer. Sugar and alcohol will be next. They cry and then I buy.
    21 Nov 2013, 03:42 AM Reply Like
  • coal miner2
    , contributor
    Comments (19) | Send Message
    With all the older coal fired plants shutting down what will happen when demand exceeds supply in the really hot months of summer?
    21 Nov 2013, 08:54 AM Reply Like
  • Rob Setti
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
    Rolling blackouts. Pollution would be unacceptable.
    25 Nov 2013, 07:42 AM Reply Like
  • TDWelander
    , contributor
    Comments (624) | Send Message
    So the reason coal is very, very good and people have been peddling junk science, or ignoring reality: Of the 15,000 carbon molecules in my 65th ed of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, all are heavier than air except carbon monoxide and methane; both in less than miniscule amounts in the atmosphere. Being heavier than air, those 14,998 carbon molecules all settle to the surface eventually, being absorbed by plants and the oceans.


    This fundamental heavier than air fact of practically all carbon molecules means it is not possible for any carbon molecule to cause global warming. They simply are not in the atmosphere in any amount to affect climate.


    The 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere people have been whining about does the same as all the rest of the carbon molecules heavier than air, settles to the surface and is absorbed by plants and the oceans. The settlement time is probably long, in the decades or more, why there is 400 parts per million carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.


    It is time for responsible people, especially attorneys and prosecutors who understand these basic facts to start prosecuting anyone who spread public lies causing fraud. It is put up or shut up time for these outrageous fraudsters blaming humanity for global warming; as insidiously false and fraudulent as it gets.


    With 25,000 miles of ocean volcanic rift emissions and 1200 active volcanoes on earth, the volcanic dust level in the atmosphere is the 99% source of the level of sunlight reaching earth; or the 99% sources of climate change; not humanity at less than 1%.


    It is time to start taking names at the global climate conference of all those people blaming humanity for nature's 99% climate change problem and prosecuting them for this fraud.
    21 Nov 2013, 03:18 PM Reply Like
  • Will Deliver
    , contributor
    Comments (211) | Send Message
    Wow! The Climate Change Deniers are all out Trolling this article! Look at the number of comments from these commenters and you will see who is lying and a fraud! One guy can comment as several. Don't believe the Deniers. The average temperature across the Earth is rising. the glaciers are melting. Melted ice from glaciers on land add water to the oceans, raising sea level, increasing tidal storm damage in coastal areas.
    Here's a question for you; Where can you buy clean, healthy fish products, now that the Fukishima disaster has polluted the Pacific Ocean and the BP oil spill has polluted the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean? Ask your Grandson and Granddaughter to help you with the answer!
    21 Nov 2013, 03:42 PM Reply Like
  • Blue Horshoe love Anacot Steel
    , contributor
    Comments (286) | Send Message
    will, get a grip and hang up your tin foil hat.
    we're just sick of being lied to by warmists.
    all the facts are against you.
    1. average temp of the planet has not changed in 17 years
    2. the increase of sea ice hit a record this year (sea ice is increasing, not decreasing)
    3. its almost 2014 and the seas did not rise as predicted
    4. all the phony global warming models have been proven wrong and the tiny community of global warming scientists are panicking because they look like fools (just like they did in 70s and 80s when they were predicting man made global cooling).
    5. this tiny community of paid global warming scientists are admitting that small increases in temp and co2 are actually good for humanity in that it allows more people to avoid starvation.
    6. despite predictions of "extreme" weather, with few exceptions (sandy, haiyan), we have experienced quite the opposite with record low amounts of hurricanes and much more moderate weather patterns than normal.
    7. the bp oil spill is over and the oceans continue to bleed oil through cracks in the surface unaffected by man


    please educate yourself and stop believing in foolishness. don't be so quick to preach to others when you are uninformed.


    I've read your prior posts and i have noticed that you are frequently nasty and you insult everyone that does not agree with you and accuse them of being a paid hack by the oil companies. i'll save you the trouble and tell you now that i am not a paid consultant of any energy conglomerate. just someone that loves the truth.
    21 Nov 2013, 05:24 PM Reply Like
  • nemonemo
    , contributor
    Comments (339) | Send Message
    Lol. Freeloader.
    21 Nov 2013, 10:14 PM Reply Like
  • chistletoe
    , contributor
    Comments (271) | Send Message
    yes, the sea level has risen by an average of just over a sixteenth of an inch every year in the last century ... I am so scared ... and have you happened to notice that the ice cap in the Antarctic reached the largest extent on record last summer since satellite surveillance began????? Exactly WHAT is it that you deliver, sir?
    22 Nov 2013, 10:16 AM Reply Like
  • TDWelander
    , contributor
    Comments (624) | Send Message
    To Will Deliver. There are no climate deniers here. Go reread what everyone has written. The climate has been changing since the dawn of the planet and will continue to change until the planet is destroyed millions of years from now.


    And since we are certain of the facts, most of us do not need to hide behind pseudonym email names/addresses.


    The U.S. National weather service has proven through temperature measurements the temperature has been rising and the effects you cite are fact.


    It is the source of climate change that matters. And it is not humanities 1% contribution. It is the atmospheric ash from those 1200 active volcanoes that sets the level of sunlight reaching Earth's surface.


    However, humanity has done such a good job of removing other atmospheric pollutants from the atmosphere in the last 50 years, the current global warming is probably 80% from this removal and only about a 20% reduction in volcanic ash in the atmosphere.


    The worst years of pollution on Earth, pre 1960s, the human pollution was never more than 4% to 5% of natural sources, those
    1200 active volcanoes and 25,000 miles of ocean volcanic rift emissions. So over 50 years, human atmospheric pollution has
    been reduced from 4% to 5% of the total to less than 1% of the total.


    The above has been substantially proven by the 1992 Mt. Pinitubo volcanic eruption in the Phillipines. Earth temperatures dropped about one degree on a ramp a year later.


    With the latest Icelandic volcanic eruptions and others in the last 3 years, volcanism is up and sunlight reaching Earth's surface is down; meaning at least a reduction in the increase, some say a leveling off to a slight decrease in global temperature rises in the last 3 years.


    Fukushima is a problem. Compared to the 1200 active volcanoes and the 25,000 miles of ocean volcanic rift emissions making Earth oceans the most toxic sources on the planet by 99% of the total pollution, Fukushima is just a large nuisance.


    I urge you to get real, get the facts, stop hiding behind pseudonyms,
    stop the name calling which really seems to fit you more than anyone else, and help dispense the real facts to the public so they can get out of the way of nature as much as possible and build sturdier as much as possible; the only two practical alternatives to nature's devastation currently; the 99% problem.


    It is just a matter of time before attorneys and prosecutors get these facts front and center and go after anyone uttering fictions to the public as fact; as has been the case for the last 20 plus years with some blaming humanity for Earth pollution when nature is the 99% problem/challenge.
    22 Nov 2013, 02:32 PM Reply Like
  • TheJollyGreenMan
    , contributor
    Comments (103) | Send Message
    Just stay away from Bananas, only the brave can face up to the nuclear time-bomb that is encoded into the banana nucleus.
    23 Nov 2013, 10:56 AM Reply Like
  • TDWelander
    , contributor
    Comments (624) | Send Message
    To TheJollyGreenMan. Bananas are the or one of the single best sources of potassium for humans and animals; along with a half dozen other minerals. Having a banana a day is better insurance than having an apple a day. Though both are probably better than one alone.


    Trying to be funny or talk in code when you end up being disinformational on the surface is worse than bad form. Most people think it criminal. And we really do not want you looking criminal.


    You appear not to be alone. That seems to be the fundamental problem at this blog. Most of the code talk at this blog is disinformational to the point of being ignorant. Making supposedly smart people look stupid. Very unfortunate and unnecessary.
    23 Nov 2013, 02:21 PM Reply Like
  • TheJollyGreenMan
    , contributor
    Comments (103) | Send Message
    Hi TDWelander,


    My comment, when I posted it, was just below the person - Will Deliver - that wailed about where you can buy fish that is not polluted because the nasty wicked energy companies polluted all the oceans on earth.


    In my working life, for 8 years, I mined coal, 1 million tonnes per month (obviously not on my own) supplying a power station that fed the National Grid. The electric power heated homes, hospitals, schools, etc. In addition we stopped people burning wood and stripping the landscape bare, and causing thick smog clouds in Winter.


    As a Mining Engineer I fear carbon dioxide because the gas is heavier than air and collects in the bowels of the earth. See informed comment by TDWelander - your good self - and ask: since when did this heavy gas get wings to soar into the blue yonder and heat the earth?


    And most people that have been following the excellent coverage of the Fukushima disaster on WUWT will know radioactivity, bananas as a measure of radioactivity, and how overblown the story is.


    I can't stand apples and prefer bananas, a hand a week.
    25 Nov 2013, 03:11 PM Reply Like
  • TheJollyGreenMan
    , contributor
    Comments (103) | Send Message
    Just out of curiosity I followed up on a story about Banana ripening plants here in the UK. The Hawai university publishes an excellent booklet about banana cultivation, I was fascinated to see how detailed and technical the whole banana production chain is. The banana bunches are picked green, dried, and then shipped over to the UK, where in heat controlled ripening rooms, CO2 levels of 2 to 3000 ppm, the bunches are ripened before shipped to the supermarkets. And for the avocado industry, the Australian avocado board publishes a detailed booklet. Avocados are also green when picked and are ripened in rooms, different temperatures to bananas but also very elevated CO2 levels. Our food chain is so complex, intricate and energy demanding!
    25 Nov 2013, 03:26 PM Reply Like
  • TDWelander
    , contributor
    Comments (624) | Send Message
    To TheJollyGreenMan. Thanks for showing your previous banana comment was a one time slip. And you are in fact a smart person.


    One more thought for you. The toxic limit for carbon dioxide for humans and animals is 5000 parts per million per my Handbook for Chemistry and Physics. It would be interesting to know if there are any limits placed on human time in that 3000 parts per million carbon dioxide environment.


    My guess is no. And probably more carbon dioxide up to probably 80% ot 90% of the toxic limit of 5000 parts per million is beneficial to humans and animals. The people owning, operating, or working in this 3000 ppm carbon dioxide environment can probably tell us how
    they feel after a work shift there; if any difference compared to any other environment; or if they have noticed any difference. Or if there is any special or extra health monitoring being in a high carbon dioxide environment.


    My mention all of the above because the supposed anti carbon dioxide environmentalists of the last 30 to 40 years have been figuratively jumping up and down over the atmospheric increase
    from around 370 ppm carbon dioxide to over 400 ppm carbon dioxide in the last 20 to 30 years.


    When in fact increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases plant output which increases plant oxygen output which helps the animal kingdom, humanity in particular. Or the anti carbon dioxide people have it backwards.


    And you sound like the person who can track down this substantial anecdotal evidence that more carbon dioxide below 80% of the toxic animal limit is a good thing, not bad. And put a substantial stop to this verbal wagging about more carbon dioxide being bad when it is in fact beneficial within the limits described above.
    29 Nov 2013, 12:10 PM Reply Like
  • TheJollyGreenMan
    , contributor
    Comments (103) | Send Message
    to TDWelander.


    Interesting question you posed, and multiple answers.


    The best guidelines for air quality can be found in industries where people usually work in closed and confined spaces. Who can that be? Cosmonauts and submariners!


    The USA, Canadian, Indian, and Australian navies all have air quality standards for submarines available on the internet. They are all similar, but different in the detail. Breaking ranks from the rest, the Canadians propose a normal working environment level of 7000ppm v the 5000ppm CO2 concentration of the other nations. That is the long-term working environment.


    For submarine crews a short-term - 24 hour - exposure of 30 000ppm CO2 concentration levels are allowed, and extremely short duration of 1 hour to 50000ppm are permissible with supervision.


    So to get back to your question. I suspect that you can work very merrily in a banana ripening plant, with no side effects and special rest breaks, with the only caveat that the air quality monitoring system is working and fully functional!


    And you do know that I am using the term cosmonauts just to rub in the fact that the Soviets got there first!
    2 Dec 2013, 11:21 AM Reply Like
  • fresbrg
    , contributor
    Comments (15) | Send Message
    If I was the management of Walter Energy or another metallurgical coal producer, I would do everything I could to get the company taken out of the Stowe Coal Index which KOL tracks. Met coal and steam coal are two completely different uses, but WLT gets trashed the last two days because of concerns about the use of steam coal. WLT has plenty of its own issues without getting hammered over a bogus one...
    26 Nov 2013, 12:43 PM Reply Like
  • Blue Horshoe love Anacot Steel
    , contributor
    Comments (286) | Send Message
    i can't find any really negative news on steam coal in the last 2 days. fbr actually had a positive note on friday on thermal coal. what are you referring to?
    26 Nov 2013, 01:07 PM Reply Like
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