United States Special Presidential Envoy on Climate John Kerry said Tuesday that the nation will not have coal in 2030, about eight years from now.
“By 2030 in the United States, we won’t have coal,” Kerry said Tuesday during an interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait, at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. “We will not have coal plants.”
He also said the U.S. will be free of fossil fuels in its energy production sector by 2035, thanks to President Joe Biden’s initiatives.
“We’re saying we are going to be carbon free in the power sector by 2035,” Kerry said. “I think that’s leadership. I think that’s indicative of what we can do.”
Kerry’s remarks came during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
He said he realizes the United States has a way to go to reach the goal, which will likely cost trillions to get to an emission-free future, but that Mother Nature is “relentless” in showing the world the impacts of climate change with more powerful storms.
Coal accounted for 19.3% of the country’s energy production in 2020, producing about the same amounts as nuclear and renewables, but well behind the 40.5% produced by natural gas, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The industry employed more than 42,000 in 2020, with 25,356 working in underground mines, according to Statista.
That number has declined dramatically since 2012 when the industry had more than 89,000 total employees, including more than 54,000 working underground.
Mined in 23 states, Wyoming leads the way producing 40.8% of the 535.4 million U.S. tons produced last year, with West Virginia, the home state of Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, coming in second by producing 12.6%, or 67.2 million U.S. tons, according to the EIA.
Manchin has been a critic of Biden’s proposed $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” budget reconciliation bill, and a needed vote in the Senate to pass the measure.
The bill, which includes major elements of the Democratic agenda including climate change initiatives, is currently being scaled back.
Republicans, on trhe most part, are against the bill in both chambers of Congress.
Although expected to pass with a narrow majority in the House, it still must get votes by Manchin and fellow Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., to pass in the 50-50 Senate with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.
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