As any lobbyist knows, industries stand their best chance of influencing governments if they display unity — or at least its semblance. That should be a worry for coal miners, who’ve seen their old allies in the oil and gas industry turn frenemies ahead of this week’s UN Conference on Climate Change.
Back in the day, there wasn’t even a distinction between the two sectors. In the late 1990s, Shell employed more than 1,700 people mining coal in Venezuela and Australia. BP quit the business in 2003, followed by Chevron in 2012. Total had South African mines producing about 4.5 million tons of coal a year until it sold out last year.