Gore warns markets coal stocks will lose value

Former Vice President Gore is warning investors to pull their stock in coal assets or face devastating financial consequences. 

In a Financial Times column Gore argues that it would be smart to divest from coal "for purely financial reasons," setting aside the harmful impact he says it has on the environment.

In an attempt to reach investors, Gore makes the case that three "disruptive forces" will hurt stock in coal companies and other investments in the fossil fuel in the future.

First is the growth of renewables, Gore says, such as solar, which are becoming more affordable. 

Next, are regulatory changes. Citing the Environmental Protection Agency's latest proposal to cut carbon dioxide pollution from existing power plants, Gore says the changes are "curbing demand for coal."

Lastly, he cites the "rising discontent with negative consequences associated with carbon pollution" further adding to the reasons why investors should divest.

"These three disruptive forces significantly increase the probability of a major market correction that will reprice coal assets unfavourably," Gore writes in the column.

"In fact, the repricing of carbon-intensive assets is likely to happen more suddenly and turbulently than many investors expect, as the growing negative effects of carbon emissions — and the market’s reaction — will be neither gradual nor linear."

Coal companies and industry groups argue that although natural gas has edged coal out in a number of markets, coal is still the most reliable source of energy. Opponents of the EPA's regulations claim the rules will hurt the economy, shutter coal mines and strain the electric grid during harsh winters.