Big Tent Ideas

RICK WHITBECK: Why Everyone Should Actually WANT A Lump Of Coal In Their Stockings Every Year At Christmas

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Rick Whitbeck Alaska State Director, Power The Future
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When many of us were children, the worst possible Christmas threat was a lump of coal in your stocking. Santa only brought it to the naughty kids, rather than nice. As adults, we know better. The world is better because of man’s historic use of coal. Furthermore, if this Christmas season, all the world received coal as a present, we’d be better off as a society moving forward.

Right now, there are climate activists reading this and going apoplectic. Their gnashing of teeth while shrieking, “Coal use is ruining the earth, the leading cause of the ‘climate crisis’!” is both annoying and deafening.

Let me help them with some facts:  Without coal, societies across the globe would perish. Coal continues to have a transformative impact on mankind, where, since prehistoric days, we’ve used coal for heat. In the 1700s, the English began to use it commercially, and in the 1880s, it became a primary power source for generating electricity. Today, over 20% of the world uses coal to power their lives.

Globally, coal use is increasing, with the International Energy Agency’s latest report forecasting 2023 global coal demand to be the highest ever, driven by India’s 8% year-over-year increase and China’s 5% growth. The IEA noted that coal-fired generation will rise by about 158 terawatt-hours, or 1.5%, this year.

China knows coal is a key to its rise as a global manufacturing behemoth, as steel is forged using coal, solar panels are fused using coal and even concrete requires coal in its production. China’s 1.8 terawatts of coal-fired generation are not only five times the U.S.’s capacity, but they plan to open two new coal plants a week through 2023 and 2024. No wonder China’s economic rise is proceeding so quickly.

While coal is a keystone power source worldwide, here in the U.S., it is a victim of an ongoing war, funded by climate ideologues who care more about the climate than the tens of thousands of families working in coal extraction and energy production. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has given over $1.1 billion of his personal wealth to the Sierra Club to establish “Beyond Coal” and “Beyond Carbon” initiatives, designed to shut down every coal-fired power plant in the country by 2030.

Energy expert Robert Bryce recently chided Bloomberg’s and the United Nations’ efforts to eliminate coal as an energy source as futile in the global scheme of things, noting “the ongoing increase in coal use provides a strong counter-narrative to claims that policymakers made significant progress [at COP28] in Dubai.”

Simply put, ideologues be damned, coal isn’t going away. Nothing can replace its manufacturing necessities, nor its plentiful reserves across the globe. If you truly believe in helping humanity, include coal on your gift-giving list this and every future Christmas. Let’s have Santa get with the times and feel good about filling everyone’s stockings with coal.

Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PTFAlaska. Power the Future has donated to the DCNF.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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