“[B]urning coal is the most carbon-intensive way of generating electricity. If America introduces federal controls on carbon dioxide, coal will be penalised. ‘I hate a carbon tax,’ says Bill Rainey, president of the West Virginia Coal Association. ‘A carbon tax will kill us.'” (Quoted in Battle of the Mountain Tops, Economist.com)
Unless the carbon dioxide can be captured and sequestered, a carbon tax will indeed damage coal’s economics, relative to less carbon-intensive fuels and energy sources (natural gas, wind, solar, energy efficiency). That’s the idea. With CO2 sequestration, coal will not be taxed for its carbon, and coal mining will continue, with jobs for miners. Thanks to the WVCA’s Rainey for his implicit endorsement of a carbon tax.