The tiger and turtle installation in the former coal city of Duisburg, Germany.

German artists created this walkable roller coaster called “Tiger & Turtle-Magic Mountain” out of zinc and steel left over from local mining operations in the Ruhrgebiet area of Germany. Photo: Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen / Unsplash

Global energy markets are changing, as the urgency of addressing climate change ratchets up and the costs of clean energy fall rapidly. For the countries and communities that today produce coal, these changes are likely to have profound ramifications. Yet we observe that many coal mining regions are not prepared for the effects of a decline in coal demand.

This series shares insights from different countries and communities about the future, beyond coal, and how to get there as smoothly and as justly as possible.

Futures Beyond Coal is hosted here and is also available on these major podcast platforms:

Apple podcasts

Spotify

Google podcasts

Episode 1: The future of South Africa’s coal mining regions

Recorded mainly in late 2018, this episode explores what a decline in demand for South African coal would mean for the country, and particularly for the country’s main coal mining region Mpumalanga. We hear from Victor Munnik (University of Witwatersrand), Promise Malveni (local community member and environmental campaigner), Martin Kaggwa (National Union of Mineworkers), Mike Levington (energy sector expert and Managing Director of Navitas KLD), and Anna-Marth Ott (Middleburg Chamber of Commerce).

Listen here.

One of the giant coal-fired power stations on the Highveld in Mpumalanga province, home to most of South Africa’s coal mines and thermal power plants. Photo: Aaron Atteridge / SEI

Episode 2: The port, the power and the politics of coal in Australia

Recorded in mid 2019, this episode delves particularly into the effect that politics has on the way communities in mining regions are supported (or not) in transitioning away from coal mining. We hear from Professor Roy Green, Chair of the Port of Newcastle which is the world’s busiest coal port. We stop by think-tank The Australia Institute and talk with their Chief Economist Richard Denniss and Research Director Rod Campbell about the political dynamics around coal mining and the problems this creates for coal communities. And we speak with Karen Cain, CEO of the Latrobe Valley Authority in Victoria which was set up to help the region diversify its economy away from coal mining and coal power stations.

Listen here.

Memorial Latrobe Valley Mine

Workers hard hats are hung on a fence outside Hazelwood power station in the Latrobe Valley, after its closure in 2017. Photo: Aaron Atteridge / SEI