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US coal prices top $100/t for first time since 2008

US coal prices topped $100/t for the first time in 13 years as Russia’s war in Ukraine and the global energy crunch drive up demand for fossil fuels.

Prices for coal from Central Appalachia surged 9% to $106.15/t last week, the highest since late 2008, according to government data released Monday. Prices in the Illinois Basin rose to $109.55, topping $100/t for the first time in records dating to 2005.

The rise comes as US consumers already face the highest inflation in four decades. Higher coal prices increase the odds that US consumers will pay more for electricity, as costs are already soaring for food, housing and cars in the US, driving consumer-price inflation to the fastest annual pace since 1981.

Coal prices are surging around the world as economies recover from the pandemic and as power producers push to line up alternatives to Russian fuel. It comes as a United Nations-backed panel of climate scientists warned Monday that the world may be on track to warm at a pace that would painfully remake societies and life on the planet.