The Mountain State is the second largest producer of coal and the fourth-largest energy producer in the country, with large reserves of recoverable coal that have fueled a long history of coal mining. As the world moves away from coal, states like West Virginia are struggling to adapt to job loss in the sector and fear that they will be disproportionately hurt by an energy transition. Its politics are heavily directed by coal, but despite opposition from the governor and a powerful coal lobby, the coal miners union and even some Republicans are indicating that they are ready to address coal pollution and climate change. Natural gas is poised to take the place of coal, with the state producing more natural gas than coal for the first time in 2018, with most of that production exported to neighboring states
West Virginia does not have a state-wide climate adaptation plan, and only a modest renewable energy sector that powered, in 2018, approximately 5% of the state’s electricity generation. The mountainous terrain is well suited to hydropower and also hosts windfarms on the ridges in the east. Natural gas contributed a little over 2%. The bulk of its own electricity comes from coal — 92%.
West Virginia is the most flood prone state in the US, with a State of Emergency issued almost every year until 2019 when a State of Emergency issued in October was for a severe drought.




West Virginia Center on Climate Change

West Virginians are increasingly affected by the crisis of human-caused global warming and climate change.  To address this challenge, West Virginians need science-based research, education, communication, dialogue, advocacy, policy, and action.  The mission of the…