Long dismissed as a relic of a bygone era, coal is back -- with a vengence. Coal is one of the nation's biggest and most influential industries -- Big Coal provides more than half the electricity consumed by Americans today -- and its dominance is growing, driven by rising oil prices and calls for energy independence. Is coal the solution to America's energy problems?
On close examination, the glowing promise of coal quickly turns to ash. Coal mining remains a deadly and environmentally destructive industry. Nearly forty percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year comes from coal-fired power plants. In the last two decades, air pollution from coal plants has killed more than half a million Americans. In this eye-opening call to action, Goodell explains the costs and consequences of America's addiction to coal and discusses how we can kick the habit.
The United States has enjoyed a free energy ride for a century and more, and the coal companies have made out like bandits all along the way. Now the day of reckoning has come. We and, in a just world, they are going to pay a price, either today or tomorrow. Mr. Goodell, in this well-written, timely and powerful book, makes it crystal clear what the stakes are.