Two of the few remaining U.S. coal companies and a mining
company stepped forward Friday to laud President Donald Trump’s
decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, putting
them at odds with other industry leaders who voiced their
Iron-ore miner Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.
and coal miners Murray Energy Corp., a
privately held company, and Peabody Energy Corp.
welcomed the news. The companies shared
Trump’s view that staying in the 2015 agreement would lead to
increased electricity costs and loss of jobs, a view contested
“Peabody continues to advocate for greater use of technology to
meet the world’s need for energy security, economic growth and
energy solutions through high-efficiency, low-emissions
coal-fueled power plants and research and development funding
for carbon capture,” the company said in a statement.
“We must understand that staying in the accord is not
equivalent to protecting the environment. As a nation, we could
no longer accept the restrictions imposed on the United States
while other countries are allowed to continue to pollute the
world,” Lourenco Goncalves, the CEO of Cliffs Natural, said in a
Murray said its employees, executives and owners were “extremely pleased” with the
decision, and lauded Trump for delivering on campaign
promises that the company said support the U.S. and save coal
The 2015 deal pact ”punishes” the U.S. by hampering the
country’s economy and by risking U.S. jobs while doing little
to improve the environment, Trump said in a speech Thursday.
The move prompted widespread criticism, including on Wall Street and in Silicon
Valley, with business executives such as Elon Musk of Tesla
Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
and Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric Co.
joining environmentalists and heads of state
in criticizing the decision.
Musk and Robert Iger, the CEO of Walt Disney Co.
said they’d be leaving their White House advisory
roles following the decision.
Trump vowed to support the coal industry and the jobs it
generates many times during his campaign, criticizing what he
viewed as stifling regulations. Many experts agree, however,
that coal’s biggest enemy is likely competition from other
plentiful, cheaper fossil fuels, mostly U.S.-produced natural
gas, the byproduct of the U.S. oil and gas shale production
According to the Energy Information Administration, coal’s
share of electricity generation decreased from 2008 to 2016,
and in 2016, natural gas-fired generation exceeded
coal’s share of the U.S. electricity mix on an annual basis for
the first time.
The EIA expects the use of natural gas-fired generators to
decline slightly in 2017, due to higher prices, but as new
natural gas power plants are being built, by next year the
availability of these units may lead to increases in natural
Shares of energy companies were mostly lower on Friday, with
the energy sector falling the most among S&P 500 sectors,
along with crude-oil futures prices.
“The feeling is that the U.S. producers will now be allowed to
drill at will and increase U.S. production exponentially. That
thought ignores the economics of cheap oil, but crude oil is
down,” analysts at Mizuho said in a note Friday.
Shares of renewable-energy companies were mixed, with shares of
solar-panel maker Canadian Solar Inc.
among the loss leaders and shares of SunPower
rising more than 1%.
There is likely no major impact for demand for solar power over
the next year, said Angelo Zino, an analyst with CFRA, in a
The withdrawal could have negative long-term implications,
however, “with other nations potentially following suit and/or
certain U.S. states reducing renewable efforts,” he said.
“We note solar demand remains highly concentrated (China, U.S.,
Japan and India),” Zino said. A pending decision on a U.S.
Trade Commission case regarding tariffs on imported solar cells
ad modules will have “greater implications” on the demand
outlook for the industry, Zino said.