Interview: Coal lobby leader on compensation, EU hostility, and securing just transition funds for the sector

The coal industry has found itself at the sharp end as the European Union seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and is largely resigned to a phase out that is well under way. ENDS Europe spoke to Brian Ricketts, secretary general of the European Association for Coal and Lignite (Euracoal), who argued the winding up of coal-fired power generation is a political decision, not an economic one, and stressed that the global industry was far from moribund.

“We're in the middle of an experiment, and for Europe a decision has been made that we'll switch from coal to gas,” Ricketts says. “The coal industry recognises that. The coal industry is on its way out in Europe,” he says.

This is backed up by a report this week that output from Europe's coal-fired power stations fell by almost a quarter year-on-year in 2019, although only half of this was down to a switch to gas, with the rest replaced chiefly by wind and solar.

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