Even before President Obama's speech on climate change emphasized the need to limit carbon emissions, coal companies were having a rough go of it. Declining revenues, balllooning debt, and competition from natural gas have made it very difficult for some companies to survive. With debt-to-capital ratios approaching that of the now-bankrupt Patriot Coal, it looks as though Walter Energy (OTC:WLTGQ) could be heading into some very dire financial times.
At the same time, there are a few glimmers of hope for the coal industry. Cloud Peak Energy's (NYSE:CLD) balance sheet shows some characteristics that could help it survive another rough patch for coal. It may not be a great balance sheet overall, but it's certainly better than many others in the space. Tune into the following video to get Fool.com contributors Tyler Crowe and Aimee Duffy's take on a couple other coal companies that either look like they are headed for a big fall or have stronger balance sheets to weather the storm.