Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future by Jeff Goodell
By Jeff Goodell
Despite a devastating, century-long legacy that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and ravaged the surroundings, coal has turn into sizzling back -- and may most probably get warmer. during this penetrating research, Goodell debunks the defective assumptions underlying coal's revival and shatters the parable of inexpensive coal strength. In a compelling combination of hard-hitting investigative reporting, historical past, and overview, Goodell illuminates the stark financial imperatives the US faces and the collusion of industrial and politics -- what's intended by way of "big coal" -- that experience set us at the risky path towards reliance in this strength source.
Few folks detect that even at the present time we burn a lump of coal at any time when we turn on a change. Coal already provides greater than part the power had to energy our iPods, laptops, lighting -- whatever we use that consumes electrical energy. Our wish to discover a homegrown replacement to Mideast oil, the emerging rate of oil and normal gasoline, and the fossil fuel-friendly temper in Washington will quickly push our coal intake throughout the roof. simply because we now have did not boost substitute power assets, coal has successfully turn into the default gas for the twenty-first century.
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Extra resources for Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future
The subtext of Averitt’s study is modest and practical: Does America have enough coal to last until it can be supplanted by nuclear power, solar, and other renewables? Although Averitt used data from the 1909 study in his paper, he also had access to a vast amount of new information about coal that had been accumulated by mining and oil-drilling companies. In ad- 13 / T H E S A U D I A R A B I A O F C O A L dition, he considered factors that had been ignored in the 1909 study, such as the thickness of the coal seams, the amount of earth that needed to be moved to get to the coal, and the general quality of the coal.
McDowell County lost nearly half its population in just twenty-three years. The region has some of the highest obesity, cancer, and loss-of-teeth rates in the country. Michael Hicks, an economist who has written widely about West Virginia’s troubles, says that the literacy rate in McDowell County is about the same as that in many Third World countries. “The economic conditions in southern West Virginia today are a human tragedy of epic proportions,” he says. What went wrong? For the past forty years — since April 24, 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson stood on the steps of a moun- 29 / C O A L C O L O N I E S tain shack in Inez, Kentucky, and declared a war on poverty — the decline of Appalachia has been the subject of debate and study.
But the work he’s published so far underscores an obvious truth: the often-quoted estimate that we have 250 years’ worth of cheap coal left in America is a gross exaggeration. Rohrbacher points out that the EIA’s optimistic estimate of recoverable coal reserves is still based on Averitt’s 1974 study, which is not only more than thirty years old but also is itself based on reports from state geologists that are ﬁfty to sixty years old. ” 15 / T H E S A U D I A R A B I A O F C O A L Even the EIA admits the numbers are imprecise.