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Coal’s future dims as new regulations pile on and former defenders retreat

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Politico or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: New pollution regulations from the Biden administration aim to significantly reduce coal usage in the U.S., making operations more costly for the coal industry
• These changes come as influential supporters like Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Joe Manchin are stepping back, while logistical challenges, such as the Key Bridge collapse, impact coal exports

🔭 The context: Coal's influence has been waning due to cheaper natural gas and the rise of renewables, as well as increasing legal and environmental pressures
•  U.S. coal production has halved since 2008, and aging coal plants are nearing retirement, pushed further by new environmental regulations.

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The new measures by the EPA, which demand a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions from coal plants by 2039, signify a critical shift towards addressing climate change
• These rules are part of a broader push to phase out fossil fuels in favor of more sustainable energy sources.

⏭️ What's next: These regulatory changes are expected to accelerate the retirement of coal-fired power plants, though they may face significant legal challenges
• The political landscape could shift further as coal's remaining proponents in Congress continue to decrease in influence.

💬 One quote: "I think the coal industry still has powerful friends in Washington and still is a force to be reckoned with in our political system — but not in the way that it once was," said Mary Anne Hitt, senior director of U.S. initiatives at Climate Imperative

📈 One stat: Coal-fired power plants contributed just 16% of U.S. electricity last year, down from about 50% two decades ago

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