Author Archive: Karl Cates

Director of Media Relations Karl Cates has been an editor for Bloomberg LP, an editor for the New York Times, and a consultant to the Treasury Department-sanctioned community development financial institution (CDFI) industry.

IEEFA Update: Over Sound and Fury From Elsewhere, Energy Transition Rolls On

One Segment of the Electricity-Generation Industry Is Rising; the Other Is in Decline

Buried in the blizzard of political-transition headlines this week, an electricity-generation transition continues unabated. While armies of satellite-news trucks idle on the streets of Washington and live-at-five anchors drone on from the capitol, the market-driven driven shift toward renewable energy takes root across the heartland and from coast to coast. When the coal industry’s godfather-politician […]

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IEEFA Update: The Public-Relations Disaster That Is the Dakota Access Pipeline

IEEFA Update: The Public-Relations Disaster That Is the Dakota Access Pipeline

A Project on the Map Now in a Way Its Investors Never Wanted It to Be

Headline risk and reputational risk are two heads of the same public-relations monster that—once it gets out of its cage—defies ever being confined again. ExxonMobil with its climate-science scandal is on intimate terms with this beast. So are backers of the Dakota Access Pipeline project, branded globally now as a public-relations disaster for its backers. […]

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Don Blankenship Is an American Criminal

A Notorious U.S. Coal Executive Remains Blindly Unrepentant for His Part in the Deaths of 29 Miners

Donald Leon “Don” Blankenship, the former head of Massey Energy who is serving federal prison time for his role in the deaths of 29 coal miners six years ago in West Virginia, got beaucoup headline treatment this week for issuing a “manifesto” in which he pronounces himself an “American political prisoner.” Give the man kudos […]

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IEEFA Update: A Rich Daily Tide of Energy-Transition News

IEEFA Update: A Rich Daily Tide of Energy-Transition News

Five Articles of Note (and a Must-Read New Book)

Every weekday on IEEFA.org we post five fresh headlines from the ever-rising tide of news on the fast-moving global transition in power generation. It’s a subjective exercise in speed curation. We see scores of items every morning—indeed throughout the day and into the night—that reflect real-time developments, policy changes, market shifts and technological progress in […]

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IEEFA Update: A Snapshot Map of the Global Energy Transition


IEEFA Update: A Snapshot Map of the Global Energy Transition


Momentum in the Face of Resistance by the Forces of the Status Quo

The snapshot map of the world here shows in a handful of new anecdotal markers the global transition to a new electricity-generation economy gaining ground even as status-quo interests dig in, so to speak.   The fight for “self-bonding,” the coal-industry promise to set aside ample funds for cleanup costs, grows weaker with word last week that the […]

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IEEFA Energy Finance 2016: Publicize Numbers, Ask Embarrassing Questions, Shoot for the Business Pages

IEEFA Energy Finance 2016: Publicize Numbers, Ask Embarrassing Questions, Shoot for the Business Pages

Making the ‘Dollars and Sense’ Arguments for Energy Transition

A standing-room-only audience was on hand to hear boots-on-the-ground stories during IEEFA Energy 2016 on how activists can turn to corporate finance and economics to force corporate transparency and accountability. Nityanand Jayaraman, leader of the South India-based Chennai Solidarity Group, said raising questions in the minds of potential electricity-industry investors can keep questionable projects from proceeding […]

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Data Bite: A Wind-Generation Record in the Lone Star State

Data Bite: A Wind-Generation Record in the Lone Star State

Gaining Ground at the Expense of Coal-Fired Electricity in Texas, and as a Federal Tax Incentive Hangs in the Balance

Texas is characterized typically as an oil-and-gas state, but the Lone Star State is also far and away the biggest producer of wind energy in the U.S., outpacing second-ranked California by a long shot. Globally speaking, Texas is the sixth-biggest producer of wind-powered electricity, right behind India and slightly ahead of Great Britain. Why? One […]

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Appalachia’s Coal-Industry Troubles Started a Long Time Ago

Appalachia’s Coal-Industry Troubles Started a Long Time Ago

Production Has Waned Since the Late 1980s; Coal Jobs Have Been Disappearing for 30 Years; Unemployment Has Dropped Under Obama

One of the ugly myths promoted by the coal industry is that President Obama is to blame for its decline. It’s a narrative that’s of a piece with Obama Is a Muslim and Obama Is a Kenyan, canards that have an unspeakably hateful subtext at their heart. The “war-on-coal” chapter of these fictions took an especially […]

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Media Monitor: Op-Ed Epiphany, Informed Comebacks, and Two Editorials of Note

The Governor of West Virginia Says He’s Looking Beyond Coal

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has a remarkable column in yesterday’s Charleston Gazette-Mail in which he lays out the beginning at least of a vision for a post-coal economy in a state that for generations has been so deeply connected to coal. Tomblin has been governor for only three years but has spent his […]

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A War on Coal, Indeed (and No Talk of Truce)

News Coverage and Editorials That Acknowledge the Momentum Toward a Cleaner Energy Economy

Provocative may be the best way to describe comments published the other day in the Beckley, W.V., Register-Herald suggesting the region is coming to terms with its failing coal industry much like a person in the throes of coping with a profound loss. “They start with denial—and we’ve been in denial about the upcoming changes—that […]

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