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Dutchy
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Coal industry in America is dying

Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:05 pm

The market has spoken: Coal is dying

New York (CNN Business)President Donald Trump has gutted regulations on the coal industry, falsely claimed that windmills cause cancer and installed a former coal lobbyist to lead the EPA.

In the face of those efforts to rescue coal country, America's aging fleet of coal-fired power plants continues to shrink. New coal plants are not getting built.
The economics have been front and center on this transition."

Trump's vow to rip up environmental rules has been overwhelmed by an even more powerful force: the free market. Coal just can't keep up with dirt-cheap natural gas and increasingly affordable renewables.

"It's hard to see any scenario where coal rebounds," said Joe Aldina, manager of coal research at S&P Global Platts Analytics.
Approximately 15% of America's coal fleet has been retired since 2017, the year Trump took office, according to Platts.



Link

Good! This is a good step for the planet, alternatives are cheaper and investing in coal is been seen as high risk by investors. Now the rest of the world has to catch-up.
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Vio
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:13 pm

"It's hard to see where coal rebounds..." You never know where we're heading, given the current political environment of our planet... ;)
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stl07
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:15 pm

But is coal really loosing to renewables, or just to the abundant natural gas?
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:25 pm

Abundant natural gas which is much less polluting. Powder River Basin in Wyoming used to dispatch 20 coal trains a day eastbound, no more, down to just a few. Rail is hurting due to loss of coal business, but fracking is a winner. Got to get energy somewhere.

In NV, they’re building a 7,100 acre (11 square miles) solar farm, supplying 130,000 homes and is beset with NIMBYs demanding it be stopped due to environmental concerns primarily rate desert fauna. So, we’re reaching saturation on solar as it’s becoming a blight in New England.

[/url] https://www.latimes.com/environment/sto ... -las-vegas[/url]

I can’t believe solar is cheap based on electrical rates in places heavy in renewables

GF
 
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Aesma
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:12 am

When you invest in a new plant you need it to run for decades to recoup the investment. Clearly nobody thinks this can work out for coal power plants.
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PPVRA
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:37 am

stl07 wrote:
But is coal really loosing to renewables, or just to the abundant natural gas?


There’s a massive amount of natural gas:

“U.S. natural gas prices turn negative in Texas Permian shale again”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1SS1GC
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Aesma
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:40 am

That's a sign of overproduction and limited export opportunities.
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stl07
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:44 am

PPVRA wrote:
stl07 wrote:
But is coal really loosing to renewables, or just to the abundant natural gas?


There’s a massive amount of natural gas:

“U.S. natural gas prices turn negative in Texas Permian shale again”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1SS1GC

Hmm, so it would be a little naive to call this a victory for sustainable energy.
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ltbewr
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:49 am

The decline in coal for energy generation over the last 40 years is due in part to increasing environmental standards, cheaper, cleaner and easier to use natural gas and shifts in energy needs. The decline in coal particulates has considerably improved the quality and viability of the air throughout the eastern USA, reduced 'acid rain' and subsequent damage to plant life and water quality, Natural gas requires a pipeline, offering near 99.9% continuous service, less need to clean facilities, less hassles from locals, no frequent runs of trains or barges with their hassles and pollution. Some coal plants also can be converted to natural gas and are located near pipelines so a win-win.
 
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stl07
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:40 am

Natural gas totally still pollutes and has caused some Texas residents to relocate to other parts of the state, it's just that it's clear instead of black, so you don't notice it. But transportation wise, it is much, much better.
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tommy1808
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:20 am

Vio wrote:
"It's hard to see where coal rebounds..." You never know where we're heading, given the current political environment of our planet... ;)


There is a president in office that gets horny when he sees a whole in the ground, and even he can´t stop it.

stl07 wrote:
But is coal really loosing to renewables, or just to the abundant natural gas?


both. Renewable are by now cheaper, natural gas is pretty good in filling supply gaps, as turbines start up quite nice.

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Abundant natural gas which is much less polluting. Powder River Basin in Wyoming used to dispatch 20 coal trains a day eastbound, no more, down to just a few. Rail is hurting due to loss of coal business, but fracking is a winner.


fracking is also what manages to make natural gas much more dirty...

I can’t believe solar is cheap based on electrical rates in places heavy in renewables


does it matter what you "can believe"? Solar ist cost competitive, Wind is the cheapest, there may be a level of too much renewable energy, but that level will be fairly high. Here in Europe the correlation seems to be rather weak.

https://www.lazard.com/perspective/leve ... rage-2018/

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frmrCapCadet
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:22 pm

SW Washington had a medium sized gas turbine electric facility - built with private money, for the spot market. This was suppose to be the big thing 20 years ago. They never could make any money with it, but so far as I know it is still on line available to any utility that needs it. Bonneville has hydro-electric power in surplus. California buys far less than before - mostly because of wind and solar. The two coal plants in the region, Centralia in WA and Boardman in OR are shutting down in a few years. The Centralia plant used local coal, but Wyoming edged out local coal years ago. Some solar/wind/storage is currently cheaper than continued operations of coal plants. And of natural gas. The writing is on the wall.
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einsteinboricua
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:54 pm

stl07 wrote:
Hmm, so it would be a little naive to call this a victory for sustainable energy.

Depends on the area. Some places, have brought it more renewables than fossil fuels. The big picture is that coal is definitely in decline, and this EIA table shows the trend. Notice that solar and (what I assume are wind and biomass) have risen. This chart shows coal use below natural gas and barely above nuclear.
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Dutchy
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:19 pm

Aesma wrote:
When you invest in a new plant you need it to run for decades to recoup the investment. Clearly nobody thinks this can work out for coal power plants.



:checkmark: This, this is what I hear from investors around the world and rightfully so.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
LCDFlight
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:10 pm

Not only are they not building coal plants, they are actively closing coal plants ahead of their planned expiration dates.

It is because of cheap natural gas due to fracking. Renewable has made up a few percentage points, but is not yet a major energy source, and it is not what displaced coal. Gas allows electric companies to pretend to care about being green. Gas is the new base load. And to be fair, it probably did more to reduce carbon and particulates than all renewables combined, ever to date.
 
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casinterest
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:18 pm

Dutchy wrote:
Aesma wrote:
When you invest in a new plant you need it to run for decades to recoup the investment. Clearly nobody thinks this can work out for coal power plants.



:checkmark: This, this is what I hear from investors around the world and rightfully so.


Completely agree here. The recoup cost is just not there to invest in the new coal plants.

Solar and wind power costs keep declining.

Image
Image

The Levelized cost of electricity from the below page indicates an attempt to quantify the disadvantage that Coal is at, but in the US , there haven't been new plants commissioned. If you take the old costs of between 90-100, it is still twice the cost of solar , wind , and natural gas which are in a much more competitive range.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_e ... _by_source
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seb146
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:08 pm

Fracking to retrieve natural gas is much worse for the environment. All of the chemicals pumped into the ground which pollutes the water table and, then, burning off all the impurities during processing. And, like coal, natural gas is not renewable like wind or solar.
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tommy1808
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:28 pm

seb146 wrote:
Fracking to retrieve natural gas is much worse for the environment. All of the chemicals pumped into the ground which pollutes the water table and, then, burning off all the impurities during processing. And, like coal, natural gas is not renewable like wind or solar.


And of course there is this: https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... tudy-finds

And this:
https://medium.com/@unpopularscience/wh ... 8515a004f8

Best regards
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olle
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:48 pm

Trump tried to stop this development.

Expensive oil a few years ago made special nothern Europe to invest in wind and solar. That created a low cost because of scale of the investments. The same thing is about to happen in the transport sector, partly driven by the fact that all low cost electric cheap renewable energy needs a market.

With the low cost and efficient scale now has made the coal and oil expensive.

USA and Asia has now the choice to become an actor in this as well or let Europe and china to dominate.

Trump can put as many coal entrepenors he wants in front of environmental organisation but the ship has already sailed.
 
SanDiegoLover
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:24 pm

Here in MN we already get more than 50% of our power from renewables and nuclear. The state is working towards 100% carbon free electricity by 2050. Wind, solar, bio mass, hydro, etc currently are about 25% of the electricity generation. Iowa is getting nearly 40% from wind alone. At my house we have a 100% wind power program we signed up for via our utility Xcel. Xcel itself is moving towards a 100% carbon free power generation company.
 
LCDFlight
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 7:41 pm

SanDiegoLover wrote:
Here in MN we already get more than 50% of our power from renewables and nuclear. The state is working towards 100% carbon free electricity by 2050. Wind, solar, bio mass, hydro, etc currently are about 25% of the electricity generation. Iowa is getting nearly 40% from wind alone. At my house we have a 100% wind power program we signed up for via our utility Xcel. Xcel itself is moving towards a 100% carbon free power generation company.


Nice words. Just how will they do that, when their ancient nuclear plants are decertified in 15 years or so?

I am a skeptic about all that. Wind and solar can only do so much. They plan on burning GAS, because it is cheap right now and we can pretend it's a lot better than coal. If gas prices go up, groups like Xcel will probably reconsider going back to coal. But the kicker is, it is unlikely gas prices will rise. That is how much the fracking revolution has changed the landscape. Renewables have gone from an imaginary tiny thing to a very real, tiny thing in US electricity.
 
tommy1808
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:12 pm

LCDFlight wrote:
SanDiegoLover wrote:
Here in MN we already get more than 50% of our power from renewables and nuclear. The state is working towards 100% carbon free electricity by 2050. Wind, solar, bio mass, hydro, etc currently are about 25% of the electricity generation. Iowa is getting nearly 40% from wind alone. At my house we have a 100% wind power program we signed up for via our utility Xcel. Xcel itself is moving towards a 100% carbon free power generation company.


Nice words. Just how will they do that, when their ancient nuclear plants are decertified in 15 years or so?

I am a skeptic about all that. Wind and solar can only do so much.


By that time storage will be cheap enough, and there will be enough HVDC lines, to have it cover 100%.

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Dutchy
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:06 pm

LCDFlight wrote:
SanDiegoLover wrote:
Here in MN we already get more than 50% of our power from renewables and nuclear. The state is working towards 100% carbon free electricity by 2050. Wind, solar, bio mass, hydro, etc currently are about 25% of the electricity generation. Iowa is getting nearly 40% from wind alone. At my house we have a 100% wind power program we signed up for via our utility Xcel. Xcel itself is moving towards a 100% carbon free power generation company.


Nice words. Just how will they do that, when their ancient nuclear plants are decertified in 15 years or so?

I am a skeptic about all that. Wind and solar can only do so much. They plan on burning GAS, because it is cheap right now and we can pretend it's a lot better than coal. If gas prices go up, groups like Xcel will probably reconsider going back to coal. But the kicker is, it is unlikely gas prices will rise. That is how much the fracking revolution has changed the landscape. Renewables have gone from an imaginary tiny thing to a very real, tiny thing in US electricity.


A few things to consider with the gas in America and in general. I've read statistics that gas isn't all that better than "black" coal - brown coal is another matter - if you look at the total cycle. Fracking is way worse of course.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:29 pm

Ten years ago the grid could accommodate thirty percent wind. Today the percentage is much higher. Ditto with solar. Quick start gas could remain useful.
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Ken777
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:00 pm

IMO the GOP blew it when they let Trump open up the coal mines again. What was needed was Federal funding for building plants to produce solar panels with ex-coal miners being trained to work in the plants at a decent wage. Same with wind. Trump is basically too stupid to understand this.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:21 pm

Ken777 wrote:
IMO the GOP blew it when they let Trump open up the coal mines again. What was needed was Federal funding for building plants to produce solar panels with ex-coal miners being trained to work in the plants at a decent wage. Same with wind. Trump is basically too stupid to understand this.


Didn’t happen, coal production in the US continues on a downward line.

https://www.eia.gov/coal/annual/
 
anrec80
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:39 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Abundant natural gas which is much less polluting. Powder River Basin in Wyoming used to dispatch 20 coal trains a day eastbound, no more, down to just a few. Rail is hurting due to loss of coal business, but fracking is a winner. Got to get energy somewhere.


Doesn’t rail get any more oil and LNG hauling business?
 
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casinterest
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:56 am

anrec80 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Abundant natural gas which is much less polluting. Powder River Basin in Wyoming used to dispatch 20 coal trains a day eastbound, no more, down to just a few. Rail is hurting due to loss of coal business, but fracking is a winner. Got to get energy somewhere.


Doesn’t rail get any more oil and LNG hauling business?


It gets some, but sending Oil and Gas by pipeline is much more efficient. Coal can't be shipped by pipeline.
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anrec80
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:15 am

casinterest wrote:
It gets some, but sending Oil and Gas by pipeline is much more efficient. Coal can't be shipped by pipeline.


True, but pipeline projects to markets take many years to build and carry price tag in billions to tens of billions. Look at Canada’s Keystone pipeline - this project is number of years old. Also - Russia’s Nord Stream and Turkish Stream carry over $10B price tag each. It can take up to 20 years to recoup such construction costs.

All that is while rail infrastructure is already there and is abundant.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:37 am

anrec80 wrote:
casinterest wrote:
It can take up to 20 years to recoup such construction costs.


true, that's why investing in fossil fuel infrastructure is a stupid, risky investment.
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anrec80
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:46 am

Dutchy wrote:
true, that's why investing in fossil fuel infrastructure is a stupid, risky investment.


Any infrastructure project is of huge costs lately. Same can be said about renewables, nuclear, and others.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:54 am

anrec80 wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
true, that's why investing in fossil fuel infrastructure is a stupid, risky investment.


Any infrastructure project is of huge costs lately. Same can be said about renewables, nuclear, and others.


Ok, you just show that you don't know the first thing of what an investment actually is and how to recoup.

Don't care about cost, if it has the recoup potential, the right risk/reward number. And that's where the risks come in. It is quite simple, odds are that in 20 years there will be no coal plants because the cost of burning coal make it uneconomical (as it is now in the US), so why invest in infrastructure to support the coal industry, when there will be no industry to serve? So that is the risk and that's why professionals look at investments in the fossil fuel industry, especially coal, as a high-risk investment.
I know this is terrible news for your country and especially the Putin regime, but that doesn't change the fact that the world is heading for a fossil-free energy source.
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anrec80
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:39 pm

Dutchy wrote:
I know this is terrible news for your country and especially the Putin regime, but that doesn't change the fact that the world is heading for a fossil-free energy source.


Dutchy, you keep worrying us. This thread is about coal and energy infrastructure in the USA, and you brought your Putin regime thingie here.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:49 pm

anrec80 wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
I know this is terrible news for your country and especially the Putin regime, but that doesn't change the fact that the world is heading for a fossil-free energy source.


Dutchy, you keep worrying us. This thread is about coal and energy infrastructure in the USA, and you brought your Putin regime thingie here.


That is the context you are making your statements, just pointing out the obvious. How many people have access to the "anrec80" account anyway?
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
anrec80
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:58 pm

Dutchy wrote:
That is the context you are making your statements, just pointing out the obvious. How many people have access to the "anrec80" account anyway?


The only context I was using was the cost of pipeline projects, nothing else. Russia isn’t the only one who’s building pipelines.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:05 pm

anrec80 wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
That is the context you are making your statements, just pointing out the obvious. How many people have access to the "anrec80" account anyway?


The only context I was using was the cost of pipeline projects, nothing else. Russia isn’t the only one who’s building pipelines.


And any investment in long-term projects in the fossil fuel industry is high-risk. You are just here to argue that fossil fuel is great because that is your Putin context. And that's what I pointed out. If you are ashamed of it, take another job.
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Aesma
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:22 pm

How would a pipeline help anyway in the US, when they are drilling new wells every minute or something like that ? Wells that last a few months ? This is an environmental disaster, a financial disaster (it's burning money much faster than the airline industry), and local people who are promised all kinds of things will be left with nothing when the companies go bankrupt and let ravaged soil, polluted water etc. without any cleaning up.
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anrec80
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:35 pm

Dutchy wrote:
And any investment in long-term projects in the fossil fuel industry is high-risk. You are just here to argue that fossil fuel is great because that is your Putin context. And that's what I pointed out. If you are ashamed of it, take another job.


Most of the world (including me) regards fossil fuels just as any other one - nuclear, renewable - just as anything else that has its place in the economy, and scenarios when it’s best. Energy enterprises such as Gazprom, EON, Wintershall know how to calculate risks. Such investments are made only when appropriate long term gas supply contracts are in place, and nobody breaks ground until the contracts are signed and finalized. This is the case with Nord Stream 2, Turkish Stream, and also Power of Siberia - nobody started construction on the latter until multi-decade long contract with China was agreed and signed.

Building such things without contracts - yes, this is high risk. No bank will fund such an infrastructure project without a contract in place.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:49 pm

anrec80 wrote:
Most of the world (including me) regards fossil fuels just as any other one


And that is where you are wrong. For some reason, you are denying the times we are living in, so my only question is why you are doing this and I offered a reasonable explanation: you are a troll.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
anrec80
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:23 pm

Dutchy wrote:
And that is where you are wrong. For some reason, you are denying the times we are living in, so my only question is why you are doing this and I offered a reasonable explanation: you are a troll.


It’s all much simpler - I am just the way I am, and live my life the way I live it. And I do not share this “global warming” craze and am not making a problem out of every single CO2 molecule. Yes, I do believe I need to be conservative, but within certain limits. E.g. I would not commit to incur considerable expenses or inconvenience over my CO2 footprint. If someone else wants to - it’s their choice.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Coal industry in America is dying

Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:34 pm

anrec80 wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
And that is where you are wrong. For some reason, you are denying the times we are living in, so my only question is why you are doing this and I offered a reasonable explanation: you are a troll.


It’s all much simpler - I am just the way I am, and live my life the way I live it. And I do not share this “global warming” craze and am not making a problem out of every single CO2 molecule. Yes, I do believe I need to be conservative, but within certain limits. E.g. I would not commit to incur considerable expenses or inconvenience over my CO2 footprint. If someone else wants to - it’s their choice.


Not surprised by your attitude and given your profession I can see you can't have any other possition, so no worries, I only pitty you.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!

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