What seems like a thousand years ago (I’ll never get used to print media pacing), I wrote a review of Jeff Goodell’s new book for the American Prospect. It appears in the latest issue and has now been published on their website. Here’s how it begins: —— How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the […]
Jeff Goodell.To head off the worst impacts of climate change, should human beings deliberately engineer the earth’s climate? Or rather, should they try, with uncertain odds of success and at least some chance of inadvertent catastrophe? Should they even learn how, or would the knowledge itself wreak havoc? These are the sorts of questions journalist […]
In 2001, around the time Dick Cheney's secret-recipe energy plan made its debut, Jeff Goodell was in West Virginia reporting on coal's rising fortunes. He'd been sent to do a story for The New York Times Magazine, but the material spilled over into a new book, Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future. It's a journey from the mines of Wyoming, across the plains by rail car, into the belly of the turbines in the east, and all the way to China, following the tale of the black rock that still, after all these years, afflicts and enables us.
As the fossil fuel that isn't running out, coal's been rebranded as a means to achieve energy independence. With the assistance of a friendly administration in the U.S. and burgeoning demand from China and India, the industry looks set to build hundreds of coal-fired power plants in coming years. And despite the gasification/sequestration PR, the momentum is strongly behind old-school plants that laden the air with particulates and the atmosphere with greenhouse gases.
Goodell recently visited Grist HQ for a leisurely chat about coal's past, present, and unsettling future. Here follows a full transcript; for the abridged version, go here.