Coal production still strong in US despite efforts by John Kerry to kill it

John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate for the United States of America speaks onstage at the Health Day Opening Session at Al Waha Theatre during the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 at Expo City Dubai on December 3, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


There had to be some irony in John Kerry’s call this week at the COP28 conference in Dubai to shut down every coal-fired power plant in the world.

Within a few days after Kerry, the U.S. climate envoy, said that coal plants should no longer be permitted, especially in the U.S., the federal government reported a 10% increase in recent U.S. coal over last year’s production. But overall production was down only slightly.

“The reality is the climate crisis and the health crisis are one and the same,” Kerry said at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Dubai, citing a study that found coal “doubles the number of deaths” compared to other sources of air-carried pollution.

“There shouldn’t be any more coal fired power plants permitted anywhere in the world. That’s how you can do something for health. And the reality is that we’re not doing it.”

But a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed the Biden administration’s push to kill coal isn’t working so far.

The EIA reported that as of Dec. 2, the country’s estimated coal production totaled about 11.6 million short tons.

The production estimate is 11.1% higher than last week’s estimate and 10% higher than the production estimate in the comparable week of 2022.

  • East of the Mississippi River coal production totaled 5 MMst.
  • West of the Mississippi River coal production totaled 6.7 MMst.
  • U.S. year-to-date coal production totaled 537.9 MMst, 2.6% lower than the comparable year-to-date coal production in 2022.

Kerry’s call to stop building new coal power plants wasn’t well received by Kentucky U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell who said it was simply the Biden administration’s latest attempt to put the nail in the coffin of Kentucky coal, along with any hope of affordable energy and reliable power grids at home.

“While China and our other competitors continue to scale up coal production, Democrats in Washington unilaterally disarm from affordable and reliable American-made energy, hemorrhaging more jobs and job creators in the process.”