Getting a lump of coal for Christmas has negative connotations. Santa putting coal in your stocking meant you landed on his “Naughty List.” 

Democratic administrations and environmentalists have accused the coal industry of being  “naughty” despoilers of the environment. Climate Envoy John Kerry doubled down on coal-bashing at the COP28 conference in Dubai this past weekend by declaring, “There shouldn’t be any more coal fired power plants permitted anywhere in the world.”

But this year, you might want to add coal to your holiday wish list. 

Much to the Biden administration’s chagrin, coal will maintain staying power.

The International Energy Agency reports global coal demand remained high as it’s responsible for producing 36% of global electricity generation. Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETPs) to wean nations like coal-reliant South Africa and Indonesia off it—to the tune of $28.5 billion from the U.S. and similar wealthy nations—aren’t working. The Wall Street Journal reports JETPs are loans that are “saddling the countries with more debt.” South Africa will delay coal-plant phaseouts due to continued rolling blackouts and brownouts, while Indonesia remains the world’s top coal exporter and is equally skeptical of abandoning it.

Here at home, coal still remains an integral part of the U.S. electric grid—responsible for nearly 20% of electricity generation. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) annual coal report published in October 2023 found U.S. coal production “increased 2.9% year over year.” The Department of Energy concedes coal plays a major role in our electric grid as well. 
As I noted in a Unicorn Fact Check last November, coal has multiple purposes and will be impossible to phase out without repercussions:

Coal is the most abundant domestic-energy source, unlike solar and wind which heavily rely on questionably-sourced imported minerals. Even CNBC concedes that when so-called clean energy fails to power the grid, traditional fuels would be used as “backup when renewables fail to carry through.” And for electric vehicles to charge, they require coal-powered electricity.

Common uses for coal include “cement production, carbon fibers and foams, medicines, tars, synthetic petroleum-based fuels, and home and commercial heating.”

Coal will also be pivotal in harnessing rare earth elements. Coal mines are a surprising source of these minerals and are critical to reducing our reliance on China. Recently, one former Wall Street banker struck gold after purchasing a $2 million Wyoming coal mine and learned it’s home to rare earth mineral deposits worth $37 billion.

Net-zero advocates find themselves on Santa’s naughty list this year for hastily pushing solar and wind to the detriment of coal, oil, and natural gas. The wind industry, particularly Danish wind company Orsted, isn’t thriving and wants another Biden administration bailout. Fewer Americans are rushing to buy electric vehicles, despite enticements offered by Inflation Reduction Act subsidies and credits.

Maybe this year, Santa won’t be handing out coal for his naughty list after all.

To learn more about coal, go HERE.