In an election cycled fueled by anti-establishment rhetoric, struggling coal regions have come to symbolize broader frustrations with globalization and economic trends that have left many behind throughout the United States. How do policymakers respond to the grievances of these communities and facilitate a just transition away from coal?

The Heinrich Boell Foundation North America, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), and the Goethe-Institut Washington held a film screening of After Coal, followed by a panel discussion on revitalizing coal communities.

Film Synopsis:

After Coal profiles inspiring individuals who are building a new future in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky and South Wales. It captures their exchange across the Atlantic with stories from their past and initiatives of the present. This 50-minute documentary invites viewers to the front lines of the local transition away from fossil fuels.


Panel Discussion:

The United States’ use of coal continues to fall and reached its lowest point on record in 2015. All across the country, traditional coal communities find themselves struggling to adapt to this rapid energy transition—a phenomenon not confined to the United States. The panel discussed ways in which coal communities can participate in, shape and benefit from the transition away from fossil fuels.

The event also featured a joint Heinrich Boell Foundation and Friends of the Earth publication, Coal Atlas, a compilation of the latest facts and figures on the extraction and use of coal globally.

Speaker Slides