Coal is a mystery: Why, in the 21st century, does half of United States electricity come from this 18th-century fuel? In the age of nano-tech, why can’t we seem to make the investments necessary to effect a great leap, making renewable energy technology truly affordable? If we were to really add up all of the human and environmental costs of coal, what’s the bill that we are really paying? And, finally, what can we do right now to spread great solutions options, and turn the tide?
Joshua Frank’s interview on Alternet of Peter Bull, Director/Producer of the new documentary by the Center for Investigative Reporting, Dirty Business: “Clean Coal” and the Battle for Our Energy Future, addresses these questions and more. The interview was actually so good, I can’t help pulling out a few excerpts for all of us who are curious and/or concerned about coal. If your interest is piqued, you may also choose to screen Dirty Business.
Excerpts below from the article The Dirty Business of Coal: How Our Addiction to an 18th-Century Energy Source Is Killing Us: A new documentary asks why we are still relying on this antiquated energy source and challenges us to move to cleaner, healthier alternatives are cross-posted from Alternet.
“October 21, 2010 | … Coal has produced power in our country for over 100 years. It pulled us through the Industrial Revolution and has pumped electricity into the hearts of our cities, keeping us warm through winter and up and running throughout the day. It’s also caused insurmountable death and destruction along the way, contributing more than its fair share to climate change, water pollution and worker fatalities. So how do we challenge such an entrenched part of our culture and start the process of reversing these trends? That’s the big question. Dirty Business shows us the way out of our energy and climate conundrum; we just need the political will to buck the entrenched special interests of the status quo and get imaginative with new alternative solutions.
Joshua Frank: Can you talk a bit about why you wanted to make this film, what drew you to the topic of coal?
Peter Bull: This film grew out of another project I did with the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR). That was a one-hour documentary for PBS/Frontline called Hot Politics, about the politics of global warming and investigated why the Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2 administrations all failed to take meaningful action on the greatest threat that humans have come up against. Now it looks as if the Obama administration is about to get added to the list.