Rocks and hard places

With next year's US election fast approaching, heavily polluting industries such as coal are easy targets for green election campaigns. Coal producers and consumers are once more being cast as the villains of the piece.

"Election politics are likely to turn more bestial for coal," wrote Citigroup analyst John Hill recently in a note that downgraded US coal company stocks across the board.

A multitude of green legislation is being imposed on the US coal industry targeting high-sulphur, high-pol