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Nathaniel Bullard

Coal’s Future Is in the Hands of the People, Not Banks

As climate change concerns grow, new polling suggests strong support around the globe for clean energy, putting coal-related investment in jeopardy.

Coexistence is probably not in the cards.

Coexistence is probably not in the cards.

Photographer: Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images

Climate change is at the top of many American voters’ minds, as evidenced by a CNN poll last week that found “96% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say it’s very or somewhat important for a presidential candidate to promise aggressive action” on the issue. At the same time on the other side of the globe, “Promises to fight the world’s most toxic air have made it to the manifestos of major political parties for the first time in Indian elections.” And in the U.K., the Committee on Climate Change recently said the U.K. can “end its contribution to global warming within 30 years by setting an ambitious new target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.”

However, many governments — as well as a number of financial institutions — maintain faith in the need for an expansion of coal-fired power, one of the biggest contributors to global warming. A new survey shows the challenges that commitment will face within some major markets, and they will underpin any coal growth story.