BP chief says better ways to preserve jobs than by supporting coal industry

She said coal is three times less expensive than natural gas and was an abundant and “increasingly clean” resource that should continue to be the mainstay source of electricity generation.

Coal now accounts for around 50 percent of the power generated in the United States, but is responsible for about one-third of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Echoing a complaint common in the natural gas industry, Hayward said the coal industry was “disproportionately favored” in the House climate legislation. But he said he was encouraged by the direction of climate talks in the Senate.

BP recently dropped out of the United States Climate Action Partnership, a coalition of companies and environmental groups that developed a framework the House climate legislation built upon.

Despite that decision, Hayward says his company continues to support a “cap and trade” legislation as the best way to lower carbon dioxide emissions and also spur investments in cleaner sources of power.

Hayward indicated he was encouraged by the effort by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) to write compromise climate legislation.