But that fact provides a completely misleading snapshot of things. While the future of coal usage in this country is questionable (there are a lot of Obamas here), the exportation of coal is skyrocketing.
And guess where it's going.
To the country that is kicking our ass economically. China is gobbling it up:
China has seen the future, and it is coalWe have it. Lots of it. And it's still a bargain* compared to oil and natural gas (and don't make me laugh by bringing up solar or wind).
By George F. Will, Washington Post
Today, about half of America's and the world's electricity is generated by coal, the substance that, since it fueled the Industrial Revolution, has been a crucial source of energy. Over the past eight years, it has been the world's fastest-growing source of fuel. The New York Times recently reported ("Booming China Is Buying Up World's Coal," Nov. 22) about China's ravenous appetite for coal, which is one reason coal's price has doubled in five years.
Half of the 6 billion tons of coal burned globally each year is burned in China.
Writing in the Atlantic on China's appetite for coal and possible aptitude for using the old fuel in new, cleaner ways, James Fallows quotes a Chinese official saying that the country's transportation system is the only serious limit on how fast power companies increase their use of coal. One reason China is building light-rail systems is to get passenger traffic out of the way of coal trains.
Fallows reports that 15 years from now China expects that 350 million people will be living in cities that do not exist yet. This will require adding to China's electrical system a capacity almost as large as America's current capacity. The United States, China, Russia and India have 40 percent of the world's population and 60 percent of its coal. [link]
If Obama and his ilk don't want it, by God, we'll sell it to the Chinese.
Wrap your brain around this: The wonderful people of Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise Counties here in Virginia will not sacrifice their children's future so that leftist do-gooders in this country can high-five one another over brie and Bordeaux, celebrating the impending demise of a way of life being eked out by the great unwashed masses far, far away in the coalfields. They will survive.
Stick that in your solar generator and use it to power your curlicue light bulb.
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* Think of coal as being the Wal-Mart of the energy world. Low, low prices every day. From the American Coal Foundation, an eye-opening comparison of energy costs per million British Thermal Units:
● Natural gas—$4.30
** According to this source, the cost of solar power, which brings with it a host of problems, runs as high as $6.00 per million BTU's.
*** I recognize the fact that George Will refers to coal production coming out of the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana. But in the eyes of the environmentalists, coal is coal. And realistically, coal (along with nuclear) will be king for gererations to come. Especially here in the Appalachian region.