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.

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 […]

October 7, 2016 Read More →
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 […]

September 15, 2016 Read More →
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 […]

August 23, 2016 Read More →
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 […]

March 15, 2016 Read More →
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 […]

and December 16, 2015 Read More →
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 […]

October 27, 2015 Read More →

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 […]

September 2, 2015 Read More →

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 […]

August 12, 2015 Read More →

More Headline Risk Around Alberta’s Oil-Sands Industry

Questions Multiply on Future of Canadian Projects

July hasn’t been a very good media month for Alberta’s oil-sands industry, and not just because of all the coverage given the fifth anniversary of the Enbridge Inc. spill in the Kalamazoo River of northern Michigan. The Wall Street Journal had a one-two oil-sands punch with separate articles on the same day last week, one […]

July 27, 2015 Read More →

Arch Coal Versus the Vatican

An Industry Lobbyist Decrees the Pope Fallible; Brave Journalism Down Under; the Power of Content Partnerships

You have to wonder what Thomas Altmeyer, an Arch Coal lobbyist in Washington, was thinking when he sent around an email this week taking on Pope Francis. Altmeyer presumably meant the missive to be seen only by the members of Congress he directed it to. But, as emails will, it leaked. It was picked up […]

June 19, 2015 Read More →