Old King Coal
The transition from coal to renewables is underway
Coal has been a provider of jobs in working class and rural communities for hundreds of years. But as it is phased out around the world - now with a pledge at COP26 - coal miners are anxious about their futures, and wary of politicians' promises.
With COP26 billed as the last chance to stem the tide of climate change, phasing out fossil fuels remains an urgent priority. But as coal mines close in Spain, many people are worried about being left behind: ‘for 30 years they´ve been saying there will be restructuring, there will be a future for us and the only thing I see every day are friends leaving, highly skilled people with studies… and at the end of the day they have to leave’, says former coal miner Lluques. While the transition is painful, a renewable energy industry is springing up in its place, aiming to replace lost jobs: ‘one of the goals is zero impact in employment,’ says Spain’s Secretary of State for Energy, Sara Aagesen. ‘We will fulfil that. Yes. I think we can do it’, In the US, coal towns in states like Illinois, still believe in coal as the future of their communities: ‘We have hard working people, we just need a little leg up, a little help, to get back on our feet. I think coal is still viable’, says West Frankfort mayor, Tom Jordan.FULL SYNOPSIS