Friday, December 04, 2015

Energy Futures Make Coal History

To a great extent, coal has built the modern world in general, and the modern U.S. economy in particular. As Simon Winchester has shown, the search for coal to fuel the industrial revolution also revolutionized the study of geology. Many members of my own family worked in West Virginia mines throughout the early and middle twentieth century. The industry continues to employ thousands of people and it holds billions of dollars in capital assets.

So the demise of the industry is no trifling matter. But for the future of the planet, that demise is absolutely essential, and news of its progress is most welcome. On the WBUR program here & Now, Michael Grunwald explains how a combination of economic, regulatory, and political factors have led to the shuttering of 1/3 of U.S. coal-burning power plants. 
Burning coal along the Potomac.
(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
This story offers a bit of encouragement as the world faces some critical decisions related to climate change. Few would have thought this possible a decade ago, given the political and economic interests committed to maintaining the status quo.

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