Let’s all gather round and give Jeff Goodell a rousing huzzah for using his megaphone to spread the righteous message that (say it with me!) coal is the enemy of the human race.
Specifically, Goodell, writing in Rolling Stone, covers the electric-power industry’s mad rush to build as many coal plants as possible before emissions caps render them uneconomic.
See how it’s done:
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a suicidal act is one that is "dangerous to oneself or to one’s interests; self-destructive or ruinous." By this standard, the coal boom that is currently sweeping America is the atmospheric equivalent of a swan dive off a very tall building. At precisely the moment that scientists have reached a consensus that we need to drastically cut climate-warming pollution, the electric-power industry is racing to build more than 150 new coal plants across the United States. Coal is by far the dirtiest fossil fuel: If the new plants are built, they will dump hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year for decades to come — virtually guaranteeing that the U.S. will join China in leading civilization’s plunge into a superheated future.
Like most stories about energy, corruption and greed, this one is centered in Texas. TXU, an electric-power company based in Dallas, has announced plans to build eleven new coal plants in Texas by 2011 — a move that a trade publication calls "one of the most ambitious generation capacity expansions in recent power industry history." Texas already dumps more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other state in the nation. TXU’s new fleet of coal plants would more than double the company’s current pollution, spewing 78 million tons of planet-heating pollution each year — the equivalent of 11 million SUVs.
Screw TXU, and screw coal.
For those who haven’t seen it, I did a fairly extensive interview with Goodell a while back.