Coal contracts boom is a sign of desperation

Producers' turn to derivatives may be a last throw of the dice

Hot coals: coal producers are flooding the market with call options


King Coal is yesterday's man. The latest blow at his tottering throne came from the Paris climate accord, ratified this year by the European Parliament, which commits signatories to phasing out their use of the high-carbon fuel. In terms of installed capacity (though not yet actual megawatt-hours generated), it is now in second place to renewables, the International Energy Agency announced in late October.

Coal is increasingly

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