Pacific Rim Coal Prices Continue to Tumble

Coal exporters are seeing red...and red ink...in latest price drops.
Newcastle coal futures prices, August 2014 contract.

Newcastle coal futures prices, August 2014 contract.

In case you don’t check the coal futures markets every day, you may have missed the trend: after it looked like international coal prices had bottomed out in late 2013, starting in January they continued their three-year collapse. To understand just how dramatic the decline has been, all you need to do is look at the chart of futures prices for coal at Newcastle, Australia.

If you’re a coal buyer in Korea or Japan, this is good news, because it means that a ton of coal is a lot cheaper than it used to be. But if you’re in the business of selling coal, the price trends have been a financial catastrophe.

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Why Washington State Should Adopt a BC-style Carbon Tax

My personal prescription.
Cumulative BC Carbon Tax Revenues and Tax Cuts 2008-2014

Chart by BC Budgets 2008-2013 (Used with permission.)

Editor’s Note: Washington’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce is on the job, weighing alternative carbon-pricing proposals. Some members of the panel have asked what our ideal policy would be for Washington State. Yoram Bauman shares his thoughts today. Alan Durning will share his argument for a California-style cap-and-trade system, with key modifications, another day.

If I had my druthers, Washington State would push for a BC-style revenue-neutral carbon tax. Full disclosure: I’m part of the CarbonWA.org campaign to put just such  …  read more »

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Weekend Reading 7/25/14

A Tesla road trip via GoPro, an alarming industry cover-up, and more.
Original illustration by Nina Montenegro of ghosttide.com.

Alan

Oregonians will vote in November on whether to adopt open, top-two primaries like California and Washington. Here’s the pro argument, from US Senator Chuck Schumer.

“Honk if you’re horny” and other creative signs from a pro-choice couple who stand side by side with abortion clinic blockaders to leaven their messages with humor and perspective.

Did you take a big road trip in your college days? My nephew and niece just did. In a Tesla. With a GoPro. Here’s  …  read more »

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Coal Exports: Unfair Market Value

By ignoring exports, BLM underprices federal coal.

Today, Sightline is releasing a brand new report on the US Bureau of Land Management’s coal leasing programs: Unfair Market Value: By Ignoring Exports, BLM Underprices Federal Coal. As the report documents, coal companies operating in the western United States are increasingly seeking to buy coal from the American public with the explicit goal of shipping that coal overseas…yet the BLM is ignoring the potential profits form overseas coal sales when setting the price at which it will sell federally owned coal. As a result, the agency is giving away coal for a song—which is boosting coal company profits, while denying the American public of millions of dollars of revenue each year. For details, read on…

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Oil Train Derails in Seattle

Loaded train off the rails under Magnolia Bridge.

Global Warming and Monster Wildfires

The fingerprints of climate change are all over "monster" wildfire crime scenes.

American Mom and Pops Want Climate Fixes

Poll: American small business owners favor climate action.

Back to the Future

Modernizing regulation, reimbursement, and care for our teens.

Northwest Knows Best?

But Citizens United left us some nasty residue.

Highest and Best Use…Or Not.

When NOT improving property is highly profitable.