When Orak entered the dorm room, he found Felix crouched in a corner, counting Mystos. Felix whispered, “One…two…three…four…five…”

Orak asked, “Why are you counting Mystos, Felix? Do you want to buy something?”

“Oops, I lost count,” said Felix with a grimace, adding, “But yeah, I do want to buy something.”

“What do you want to buy?” said Orak.

“A coal mine,” replied Felix, nonchalantly.

“A coal mine?!?” repeated a shocked Orak, “Why would an environmentalist like you buy a coal mine?”

“To close it of course,” said Felix, “After a 2014 case from Germany, many activists have tried to buy coal mines and oil drilling rights to shut it down and leave those resources in the ground. This, in turn, will help sequester carbon dioxide. That is, it will reduce the carbon dioxide in the air and tackle climate change. After all, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. It traps the sun’s heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming.”

“That is a new approach,” said Orak, “Could you tell me more about this case?”

“A Swedish energy company called Vattenfall operated lignite mines in Germany. Lignite is soft, brownish coal that has low energy content. That’s why to produce enough heat, greater quantities of this rock have to be burned,” explained Felix, “So, Vattenfall decided to sell the coal mine and shift towards cleaner forms of energy. In 2014, it invited bidders.

This caught the attention of Martina Krueger, the acting director of the Nordic arm of an environmental organization called Greenpeace. After discussing with her colleagues, Krueger decided to place a bid for this mine. The goal was to shut down mining. But at the same time, they realized they would have to take care of the workers as well as take responsibility for the clean-up operations.

After making calculations, Krueger and Co. decided that Vattenfall would have to offer to fund for the clean-up as the mine would no longer make money.”

“Wow, that is such a good idea,” said Orak, “I’m wondering what if billionaires who care about climate change start taking similar efforts.”

“Well, things aren’t that easy,” said Felix, “Unfortunately, Greenpeace’s bid was rejected. A similar trend followed in the United States (US). Companies avoid selling the mines to such bidders who would shut down the mining operations.”

“Uh-oh,” said Orak.