$50 Billion Buyout of US Coal Industry Proposed

We’ve talked here about the potential effect of LENR on the coal industry, and whether the cold fusion would cause the demise of coal over time. Well, there’s a proposal out there to shut down the United States coal industry in a rather more dramatic fashion — just buy it out and close it down over a period of 10 years.

This is the proposal in an article in the Guardian newspaper by Felix Kramer and Gil Friend, who say the benefits of such a buyout would be immense — worth $345 billion a year in savings in health and environmental costs according to a Harvard Medical School study. The authors argue that the $50 billion buyout would be a boon to those in the coal industry which is already under heavy financial pressure.

“This buyout could come at a deep discount, rescuing the beleaguered owners, shareholders, and workforce of a dead-end industry. Coal has a dark future, already foreshadowed in declining stock market prices and abandoned plans for new construction. It faces competition from natural gas and renewables. And public opposition has led to hundreds of coal plants closed or blocked by the Sierra Club and its allies”

Friend and Kramer encourage wealthy philanthropists like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Richard Branson, who are already concerned about the environment, to consider putting some of their wealth behind this move — they say it would be a direct way to affect positive environmental change.

There’s not much in the article of what the effect of such a buyout would have on domestic energy prices, and the knock on effect for the economy. The authors believe the move would increase domestic electricity prices by 1 to 2 cents per kilowatt hour. Coal is still the cheapest energy source used for the production of electricity, and almost half of American electricity is generated by coal. Eliminating coal as a power source in one fell swoop could provide a shock for the economy — unless it was replaced by something cheaper like the E-Cat.