Could coal still be king?

What if an attack on coal was like an attack on Mom or apple pie?  Now, granted, coal would make a lousy mom or even pie, but coal is what helped make America great.  And at least one presidential contender is for Making America Great Again via including an avenue through coal country.  West Virginia voters are certainly hopeful.  See results of Tuesday’s voting for confirmation.

Coal has traditionally been the muscle to hoist America above foreign competitors because of its relative low expense and high energy content.  But, typical of the contemporary climate, that which was yesterday’s hero is today’s goat.

Regardless, coal was and still is the top source for electricity production.  And, coal is still a vital ingredient in steel production.  Try to make steel without it.

Yet the leftist spin is to demonize coal, an essential rock to America’s jobs and energy security and productivity.

An emeritus professor, Frank Clemente of Penn State, in a popular trade publication, Power Engineering, last year had the gumption to argue for investment in coal as the solution not the problem, since energy “from fossil fuels is the lifeblood of modern society.”  “Coal provides 40 percent of electricity, the foundation of modern society.  Electricity means life,” argued Clemente.

The professor goes on to assert that “over two billion have inadequate access to electricity and another 1.3 billion have none at all.  Almost three billion people use primitive stoves to burn biomass – wood, charcoal, and animal dung – thereby releasing dense black soot into their homes and the environment.”  Clemente further notes that millions die each year from the indoor air pollution generated from this burning practice, not to mention the environmental damage related to deforestation, water contamination, erosion, and land degradation.

Finally, according to Clemente, “[t]he road to sustainable energy, a better environment and poverty eradication will be paved by clean coal.”

Who knew?

Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist and the author of In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail (Stairway Press, 2016).