It’s flattering to be asked to be a poster child for a major international campaign.

The language was veiled but the implication clear: Would I help a big company undertake a campaign to end energy poverty? The client? Peabody Coal, the largest private-sector coal company in the world. I told the caller that I wanted nothing to do with his client or his campaign. The logic didn’t work.

Yes, energy poverty is real, and no, coal is not an answer to it.

I’ve been in the Central Highlands of Afghanistan. When night falls in December, the temperature drops by 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit — it’s real dark, and real cold. I’ve spent nights with families who cook with wood, the women, especially, dying young from smoke.

Yes, energy poverty is real, and no, coal is not an answer to it. Tweet This Quote

But sorry, coal won’t help them. Yes, the Afghans could have burned coal in their homes, but when used domestically, coal is nasty. And Peabody has no interest in selling their product door-to-door. They dig big holes in the ground for one reason: to flow megatons of coal to power plants — releasing gigatons of carbon into the air. From an environmental and health standpoint, mines are dangerous and polluting. In North Carolina, Tennessee, and hundreds of other sites, coal ash spills laced with heavy metals that cause cancer and neurological damage are polluting rivers, killing fish, and damaging communities. Big, coal-fired power plants are no longer an economical way to bring high-quality life and energy services to poor people anywhere on the planet. Nothing about it makes sense.

Central-station power plants aren’t cheap. In states from Montana to Texas, utility regulators have denied permission for new ones because they cost more than wind. In places like India, Enron flogged off power plants that no one in the U.S. wanted, saddling the government with massive debt before going broke themselves. Someone has to pay for power from a plant before it’s a viable business. But poor people are poor. They can’t afford electricity that is priced high enough to pay off the capital cost of the plant. So they don’t. The plant either gets cancelled half way through, or only sells power to the urban elites. Either way, it’s no answer to energy poverty.

Coal-fired power plants are no longer an economical way to bring high-quality life and energy services to poor people on the planet Tweet This Quote

If a country in an emerging market is going to sink a bunch of money into energy, why not invest in a renewable grid of the future? So they are. A recent Bloomberg study reports that many developing countries are bypassing coal and leapfrogging to renewable power. It points out that fossil electricity averages $147.90 per megawatt hour (mWh) in the developing countries studied. New wind costs $82/mWh and solar costs $142/mWh. While a new power plant takes years to decades to build, renewables can be deployed in only days to weeks. Think Progress quotes Ethan Zindler, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst, saying, “Clean energy is the low-cost option in a lot of [developing] countries. The technologies are cost-competitive right now. Not in the future, but right now.”

The New York Times agrees:

Electric utility executives all over the world are watching nervously as technologies they once dismissed as irrelevant begin to threaten their long-established business plans… Many poor countries, once intent on building coal-fired power plants to bring electricity to their people, are discussing whether they might leapfrog the fossil age and build clean grids from the outset.

This an opportunity for entrepreneurs too. In Guatemala, Unreasonable entrepreneur Juan Rodriquez, founder of Quetsol (now called Kingo) provides solar lighting for $12 a month—already cheaper than the $16 a month that an average family spends on lighting.

Of course, Peabody has little interest in serving Guatemala’s poor market. Instead, they have created a veil of “energy poverty” that intends to put a moral face on its desire to keep selling coal in the U.S. But here, too, it makes no sense. Deutsche Bank analyst, Visal Shah, predicts that rooftop solar will be the cheapest electricity option for everyone in the US by 2016. This follows the Energy Darwinism report from Citi Group that has renewables cheaper than gas within ten years. Already, entrepreneurs are offering utility-scale solar at $50/mWh and new developments, such as solar cloth — a lightweight solar fabric that can be stretched across parking lots and rooftops — that could make solar ubiquitous and cheap. Stanford Professor, Dr. Mark Jacobson’s Solutions Project shows that energy efficiency and renewables can meet world demand better and cheaper than any future based on coal or nuclear power.

Energy efficiency and renewables can meet world demand better and cheaper than any future based on coal or nuclear power. Tweet This Quote

None of this, however, stopped Peabody’s marketing machine. It even ensnared Bill Gates to prove the line from the movie Dangerous Liaisons, “like most intellectuals he’s intensely stupid,” when in June, he trotted out the long-discredited Bjorn Lomborg to claim that coal can solve energy poverty. In an excellent exposé in Desmogblog, Graham Readfearn details the people supporting Lomborg’s project, and, you guessed it, they are the same ones who called me. Obviously Peabody found their poster child.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised. The coal industry has a lot of money at stake. They’re desperate. Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports that the value of the shares of some coal companies has fallen 90 percent since 2011. The report also predicts that clean energy will attract $5.5 trillion between now and 2030, a number I suspect is low.

Bill McKibben’s divestment campaign is biting: In 2013 Bloomberg reported that Storebrand ASA, which manages $74 billion of assets for Norway, sold out of 24 coal and tar-sand companies, including Peabody Energy. Norway’s Labour Party proposed banning the country’s $800 billion sovereign wealth fund from coal investments. When the Rockefellers divest from ownership in fossil fuels, the trend is on.

Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. Tweet This Quote

As I write, I’m on my way home from China, which is cutting its of rate of building coal plants as fast as it can. Coal use has fallen by 11 percent over the last year and imports have fallen 50 percent in 2014. Beijing even had clean air when we flew out this morning. All the coal plants and dirty industries were closed to impress the delegates in town for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit. A senior business colleague told me that the Party, concerned that the poisonous air is undermining their legitimacy, is moving to renewable energy as part of the country’s new commitment to create an “Ecological Civilization.”

So no, Bill Gates, and no, Bjorn Lomborg, coal’s not the answer.

Desmogblog says it well:

Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.

There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert public awareness.

Get your hipboots on; it’s gonna get deep. You’re gonna hear “energy poverty” in every venue that money can buy. But you won’t be hearing it from me.


This article published in 2014. It has been reposted to inspire further conversation.

About the author

L. Hunter Lovins

L. Hunter Lovins

Hunter Lovins is the President of Natural Capitalism Solutions and Chief Insurgent for the Madrone Project, a global effort to bring sustainability education to students. She is the author of Natural Capitalism, a founding professor at Bard MBA, and the Millennium TIME Magazine Hero of the Planet.

  • thompsonjm99

    interesting article. I never knew that energy could be in the poverty category so this was interesting to read. I agree that the suspected 5.5 trillion dollars in the coal industry is a bit low. What do you think the real number should be? I really liked when you said “deception is not a point of view.”

  • Nicole Myers

    Very interesting article, thank you. I also did not even think about poverty in this category and it was surely an eye opener. Thinking about the states that you listed and the neurological damage that they endure just being in the prime areas of the coal and power plants is devastating. What can small areas in the Midwest do to help? Is there anything? Again, such an interesting article.

  • CoachDavis24

    Thanks for this amazing article. I am blown away by this solar cloth! I had to click on it to read more about it. Why isn’t this being used across the world. Has it still not been tested enough? Are large energy corporation’s lobbying against it? I want to see these popping up all over urban areas. Reduce the amount of gas used any way possible.
    We have to give coal a rest. It’s dirty and inefficient. Is there a reason why undeveloped countries aren’t using wind power for communities outside of urban area’s? I thought they were less costly. Do they still cost too much or are their governments just not willing to pay for them?

  • Kyle moore

    This article was quite eye opening I agree because of the devastation that is happening to these people. The 5.5 trillion dollars in the coal industry is low to what I thought it was at. But the question I have is, what can people truly do that live in the middle class?

  • At least 1.3 billion people around the world live without electricity. Supplying them with power is an important agenda. But coal is not the way to do it The coal industry would have you believe that theirs is the only technology to meet the job, because in years past it was a low cost option. But no more. How much should be spent on renewable energy? Jigar Shah, also an Unreasonable Mentor, is calling for the 100 100 10 play ( http://www.corporateecoforum.com/100100-plan-create-10-trillion-new-economy/) which would create a $10 trillion renewable and efficiency solution to the climate crisis, go a long way to create the jobs we need, oh yes, and solve energy poverty.

  • Brittney Glende

    I agree with you Kyle, this article was very eye opening to me as well. I think the Solar cloth is something that should be spread around our world, I am curious to see why it has not done so. I wish there was a way that we could help. Thanks for the post!

  • HI Niole, check out Re-Amp Network: http://www.reamp.org/ It works in the midwest on such issues. Also http://www.350.org has chapters in many areas and is another effective group working for a sustainable energy future

  • Thanks for your kind words. I believe you have not seen solar cloth everywhere because the company has just gone to scale to begin production. For more on solar cloth check out their website: http://www.thesolarclothcompany.com/

  • The $5.5 trillion is what Bloomberg predicts will be invested in clean energy. See below for Jigar Shah’s proposal that we spend at least twice that. What can you do? first of all look at how you are using energy now. All of us can use it more efficiently. Doing that is likely the best investment you can make with scarce dollars – whether it be buying more efficient lightbulbs, or doing a whole house retrofit. Second see if Unreasonable Fellow’s company Mosaic (https://joinmosaic.com/) are operating in your area. If not, see if companies like Solar City, Sungevity or others are available to you (check out https://www.energysage.com/solar/financing/companies for lists of such companies). These will install solar on your roof and charge you NOTHING for it. You pay a monthly fee to them, less than you are paying now to the utility, and you’re a solar citizen. Or, if you have the ability to borrow (what I did) go buy your own solar system. When it’s paid off your electricity will be free forever after.

  • Garrett Nelson

    What an insightful article thanks for sharing! I agree with you that renewable energy is the way to go, regardless if coal industries are dropping. The best answer to solving this problem is not to devastate the lower-class even more with poor/unhealthy energy resources that will pollute the air, but to use a cleaner way to produce energy that will keep the air free of coal and ash. Solar power is one way to renew energy, but are there any others that you might suggest as an alternative?

  • CoachDavis24

    Thank you for replying, a lot of the writers don’t write back all that often. Is the solar cloth something that can be used in undeveloped parts of countries or would wind power be sufficient? If we really want to improve the daily life for people in undeveloped communities, they need to have reliable and CLEAN energy. If it’s not clean, how much are their lives really being improved? Not much, or maybe worse. In your opinion, what kind of renewable energy would you suggest for a small undeveloped community, wind or solar?

  • Alexander

    I never looked at it liked that in that aspect. I know coal would be bad for the environment but the difference in cost of solar power and wind to gas is atonishing.

  • Adam

    Agreed. Going off of your and Kyle’s comment I enjoyed this article very much. I am sure we would all love to see the Solar Cloth spread over the globe but we ourselves should be taking strides one step at a time to make this possible. Simple things like buying more efficient light bulbs even make a difference.Great post.

  • James

    Cleaner energy is always the best way to go. We have an abundance of coal in the U.S as well though. It is a very difficult balance that we need to find. My idea is we use coal for a little just because it’s cheapest and while we do that we fund getting into solar energy. I visited Europe a couple years ago and I was shocked how much further along they were with their solar energy than the United States.

  • Rosa Erika Nunez-Quintana

    The people are screaming for change and it seems like it may have been heard. Finding new ways to create renewable energy is important for our great grand children to be able to go outside and take a fresh breath of air without all that pollution.

  • tyler

    Thank you for the good read. This seems like a great way to start a change. I think that this article was very interesting. I never really ever thought about poverty in this sense, and this article did help me to begin to open my eyes. This way of creating renewable energy is a great idea, and it really could make some large improvements on our society. We need to do something to help keep the air free. One question I might ask is this problem is very large, but how can the smaller people help out? I am sure there are many who would be interested in helping if they too read this article and became more knowledgeable about the topic.

  • amuhammad11

    “There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert public awareness.”

    We see this all too often. especially in the energy debates.

  • Taylor Schulz

    thanks for posting this insightful article. Reading about this “solar cloth” is really remarkable. I am wondering though, what can be done to get this solar cloth more widespread? because to me, this is a great innovation!

  • Jesse S.C

    I agree with this article, coal is not the answer to energy poverty. It almost seems like developed countries just want to squeeze what little money is left from the obsolete coal industry and pollute developing countries. It doesn’t make sense to me that after all we know know about the harmful effects of coal, we would still want to use it for the developing world. I’m very thankful for the industrial revolution, and all the advancements that coal provided the US and other countries. But, now that technology has advanced so drastically I don’t think it’s crazy to think that clean energy can be the mechanism to advance developing countries.

  • NicoleBuggy

    I’m currently working with some students out of the University of Colorado’s engineering school who are trying to create a low-cost solar concentrator for the farmers of Nicaragua. They are actually trying to create a start-up social business venture. Their company name is SolVia Solar (http://www.solviasolar.com/). I would recommend checking them out if you found this article interesting and/or are interested in clean energy for the third world.

  • Kelly Martin

    This article is very interesting and I agree. Coal should not be the answer for this type of problem. In fact, it will only breed more troubles like it has already do to pollution. Also, dancing around topic and deceiving the listener/consumer all around the world is inefficenct. Thank you so much for writing this article.

  • Dena Keizer

    Thanks for posting! I like the comment you made when you said “free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view.” This is so true!

  • Amanda Wood

    I am going to start off by saying the header picture is scary! haha, anyways it is crazy what society today will try and do to provide a “helpful hand”, yet most of the time the help that is given is wasteful. It goes to show with this article that even coal that helps one of their issues, creates bigger issues. Great article!

  • melissa

    Thanks for writing; It’s great to hear about projects in Guatemala that provide affordable solar energy for many people who might not be able to afford electricity otherwise. As incomes are freed up by the lowering cost of energy, and others are able to access and use electricity for the first time people in these countries will be empowered to produce more, increase their education and afford access to things like the internet.

  • sgawinski

    I like that even though you were asked to take on a big role, you weren’t interested because you knew that it really wasn’t in the best interest of the people.

  • mebneter1

    Nice little piece exposing just how dirty coal can be. Solar cloth! Never heard of that, so cool! It’s amazing, and sad, if anyone still thinks coal is the answer…

  • Steven Bichler

    I have always been for renewable energy around the world (not just in the richer countries) because it is generally better for the health of individuals and the environment plus it can be a gateway to cheaper energy if their is more competition so seeing this being done in Guatemala (as one of the examples) is great to hear.

  • Kaylee Raucci

    Thank you for the post! I love everything you had to say. Plain and simple, people are poor. We can’ do anything to fix that, but what we can do is give them cheaper solutions. Obviously coal is not the answer in solving energy poverty. I love that people are working to hard to solve this problem, and it honestly just sucks that everything is just so damn expensive. Renewable energy needs to be a hot topic of discussion, because it is better for the planets health and evey individuals health.

  • Ryano313

    Coal is a great resource for our world, as of right now. I do agree that it would be better if we were able to create or discover some other source of energy that is better for the people, better for the environment, and a cheaper energy source

  • Chris Williams

    Coal for now is not that bad of a resource for our modern day world. However, it is not the smartest main resource for us in the long run. It will only cause our world much more problems than it already has regarding pollution.

  • Chris Williams

    I agree with you immensely. Coal is a very short term answer to this problem, and will ultimately cause more problems for our environment.

  • Catey Navarro

    I think the only reason why coal is good for now is because it is cheaper compared to the other resource option. In the long run I know it will have to come up with some alternate fuel because the environment can not handle the pollution that is coming from the coal. Although it may not be as cheap as coal it will have a better impact on the environment and thats what we need.

  • Catey Navarro

    Coal is most definitely not the answer. It may provide short term relief but I think that is all it should be used for. I definitely agree with you in that technology is capable with coming up with something that could solve this problem.

  • Catey Navarro

    I to just recently visited Europe and was also surprised! Coal is the cheapest but that doesn’t mean its the smartest choice and people need to start thinking about the repercussions its going to have.

  • Kyle Schiedemeyer

    Great article thank you. I could not agree more. The only reason coal is good for now is because it is cheaper than any other option. All aspects of coal are cheaper not just coal itself, the buildings, and the shipping costs as well. If I could ask the author a question it would be, what inspired you to write this article?

  • Kyle Schiedemeyer

    Great point. I agree completely. I think that coal is fine because of the cost all around to supply energy around it. Buildings and shipping for coal are way cheaper than nuclear power plants.

  • Kaylie Mae Kuhnke

    agreed coal is good now because it is cheaper but is it right? and i also wanted to know why this article? what made you so passionate about it?

  • Brittney Glende

    I agree with you Kyle, Coal is only good for now because it is cheaper than any other option that is offered. I am curious my self to find out what inspired Hunter Lovins to write this article. I agree that coal is not as impacting now but in the long run it will be. Thanks for sharing!

  • shst1017

    Agreed! I see the temptation to use coal energy in third world areas. It’s just so easy. It’s much easier to fall back on old methods of doing things, but we have an opportunity to bring people not only the energy they need, but also something that is helpful to our global environment.

  • shst1017

    Coal is cheap. That’s why it’s easy to fall back on. But by falling back on what is easiest, we lose opportunities to invest in ourselves and a global community.

  • shst1017

    Coal is useful in many areas of the world, but as much as possible, we should be investing in more sustainable sources of energy. That is what will benefit us the most in the long haul.

  • shst1017

    Agreed! It’s important for people to stick to their values and what is important to them! This author saw a problem with the logic of very many intelligent leaders of our community and stuck with his gut.

  • Tom Ashmus

    Coal has been used for energy and heating for hundreds of years, I feel like something that has been around that long, it will never die. There are so many coal mines I can’t see them eventually running dry, it created many jobs as well.

  • Tara Belle Smith

    This article reminded me a lot about an organization that is currently trying to create a energy efficient cookstove for women in Tanzania. They too suffer from health effects due to smoke.

  • Ryano313

    Exactly, there is enough money in the world where some country could figure out a more friendly energy source for us. We just have different priorities these days

  • amayeux

    People really want change and it seems like the ones in charge are starting to listen. Finding new ways to create renewable energy is important for our great grand children to be able to go outside and take a fresh breath of air without all that pollution.

  • Evan Hibbs

    Hunter, thank you for the article. I think this blog is very informative because it goes back to people changing, or not wanting to change. Coal is the cheaper option for now but eventually it will be harmful and a change will need to occur for everyone to live in a better society. I agree with the author that a change needs to occur because clearly it’s starting to negatively affect certain areas. Thank you for the article.

  • Evan Hibbs

    I agree Chris, do you think the change will occur soon? Or will it ever even occur?

  • Paul Townsend

    I am really surprised that Bill Gates said coal is the answer to energy poverty. I did not know there was a such thing as energy poverty until reading this posting. So, I now know what renewable energy is and it is related to solar and windmills. And it turns out to be low cost. That is amazing. This can benefit both developing and developed countries

  • B Keng

    I’m all for clean energy. If it helps makes peoples lives better and improve our planet, I would help in any way possible. But any other option is expensive. Coal has been used for many years and it won’t die that easily.

  • thomas kearney

    I honestly don’t think coal is good for the environmental aspect of society, but let’s face it we NEED it at this moment. It’s what keeps society going unfortunately I hope there can be a different method soon to provide all of our energy. We need to find a solution this is more environmental friendly. I think that if we do that we can be helping to preserve the world in more ways than we know.

  • Hillary12

    I love this article. There is no good reason why we haven’t already switched to running on all renewable energy already. Coal releases CO2 and particulate matter which causes respiratory problems and smog. To even get coal huge areas of land are destroyed and often times there’s acid mine drainage that gets into groundwater sources. I’ve seen maps showing how wind energy alone could create energy for the whole world. Renewable energy is our future and I’m excited to see it play out.

  • ReneeBinder

    I really enjoyed this article. I think there were a lot of really good points about coal and its effects on the environment. Not everyone is educated on this topic. I also think that places in the US could push harder to use renewable energy sources.

  • embr1805

    Coal could be beneficial to use in third-world countries, but you also have to look at the impact health problems caused by the burning of this fuel will have on the economy. Children under the age of 5 are highly susceptible to the health problems and even death caused by the coal releases. With children sick and possibly dying this encourages families to have more children. An increased birthrate has negative effects on developing countries especially. Although coal could produce positive effects on the economy you also have to take into consideration the detriment it could have due to health and environmental problems.

  • Nicole Isenberg

    Love this idea! By helping promote clean energy in the developing nations that don’t have a Legitimate energy grid built already-start with clean renewable energy that is healthier for our planet and the people!

  • Frankie Ridolfi

    Well said, Hunter! SironaCares.org is a powerful example of how off-grid communities in developing countries are claiming energy self-sufficiency in days, creating an ecosystem of new jobs, and choosing a healthier and cheaper alternative to cooking with dirty, toxic fossil fuels.

  • Dave Pruett

    Wonderful article. The energy fairness issue often comes up in climate-change debates. So-called developed countries “developed” thanks to the energy provided by fossil fuels. Why then energetically “impoverish” developing countries? But the cell phone provides a great counter illustration. Many developing countries have by-passed landlines completely. They didn’t need to follow the history of developed nations to enter the communications age. Neither do they need to follow the energy history of developed countries with dirty, decentralized coal power plants and vulnerable grids. Local, clean power does it just fine; actually far better.

  • Kalina ?y?-Dobradin

    I loved this article and actually didn’t know a lot of this, especially that these renewable sources are less expensive. Wish this information was provided more often. Coal isn’t the answer for a sustainable future and it’s encouraging to know that developing countries are leaping towards renewable energy. Only wish I saw this more often in the States. I think we’ve adopted a lot of great sustainable practices but think they are more superficial practices. For example, our cars are a major problem with the CO2 emissions, yet we don’t invest much to further our public transportation and energy efficient modes of transport. Also, I actually heard somewhere that in the car industry, the main reason companies in the U.S. had a hard time fully adopting energy efficient cars is because it would cost up front a lot of money to create the new machines for building hybrid/electric cars. I think just like Peabody, they just don’t want to lose money and are trying to still hold on to what has worked for them.

  • Kalina ?y?-Dobradin

    I also thought this solar cloth was amazing! I went to see their website and it says they have been negotiating with constructors, car parks, etc. in order to get these installed. I think that aiming for bigger projects is a good start for this company, but I would love to invest in some of this cloth as well! They’re also working with universities right now so I’m hoping we see a commercialized version in our stores soon! They also have been working on some other great stuff. Anyone who wants to see more about the company should go to their website here: http://www.thesolarclothcompany.com/

  • Kalina ?y?-Dobradin

    I agree that Coal is familiar and has been reliable, even though harmful. However there comes a point where society has to recognize that its benefits are outweighed by its drawbacks. Better alternatives have been presented and now have been developing for long enough for it to be cost efficient as well as energy efficient.

  • danphaw

    “Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.”

    Out of curiosity, who in a democracy is charge of determining what is accurate information?

  • I searched Unreasonable.is for the word “nuclear”, and all I got were two articles (this being one). In both cases, nuclear power was mentioned only in passing, and in both cases, it was lumped in with fossil fuels or coal, and contrasted with so-called “renewables” in a derogatory way. While it’s true that there’s only a finite amount of uranium in the ground, by all estimates it would take humanity a very, very long time to burn through it all. What’s more, we even have a solution to ~that~: it’s called a breeder reactor. Some nuclear reactors can actually recycle their own fuel! So nuclear power is very much a renewable resource. To anyone who says otherwise, I could argue that solar power isn’t renewable either because the sun will eventually burn out.

    Why the disdain for nuclear? It’s the greenest, most promising source of energy on earth that actually puts out enough juice to serve our energy needs. If you don’t believe me, that’s fine – put a solar panel and/or windmill on the roof of your electric car (no fair plugging it in!) and tell me how many “hours per mile” you get, running purely off “renewable” energy. That is, how many hours of charging does it take for you to drive one mile? I’m guessing it will be between 100 and 1,000 charging hours for every mile driven. For solar & wind to generate sufficient power to serve society’s needs, we would have to build massive energy farms spanning much of our available landmass. The maintenance and upkeep would likely be cost prohibitive.

    We need to transition from dirty energy (coal & fossil fuels) to nuclear immediately. Nuclear has the power — today, not in some theoretical future — to charge all of our electric cars with no pollution and no carbon emissions. Once we’ve weaned ourselves off dirty power, we will have plenty of time to explore novelty ideas like wind and solar without worrying about trashing the planet in the meantime.

  • wegener61

    “Yes, energy poverty is real, and no, coal is not an answer to it.” THANK YOU FOR RECOGNIZING THIS. I have been preaching this for a while. Coal mining-especially mountain-top removal is THE single most environmentally destructive form of energy to our planet. It is a disservice to allow these coal companies to expand and continue to do harm to our people, water supplies, food sources, and destroy the habitat of Earth’s wildlife.

  • hansends21

    Wow, i just learned a lot! Not that I ever ventured into the topic much, but I kind of did think that coal was the answer..I guess you do learn something new everyday, even if it really has nothing to do with anything you wanted to learn? haha

  • stangleram13

    You bring up a lot of good points up. thank you posting this. The renewable energy is a good point.

  • Austin Jones

    Coal is the most realistic energy option for us as a nation right now. I didnt even think about the cheaper buildings and shipping which totally makes sense. I believe we need to work on energy dependence as a country

  • Tyler Hebert

    The united states needs to be pushed harder to use renewable energy sources. It just isn’t happening like it is in other places around the world. This article is a real eye-opener and more people should know about this problem. I was never really interested in this topic too much, but this article was very interesting.