David Victor on the Death of Coal as an Energy Source
Miners Weather The Slow Burn Of Coal's Demise
Guy Raz and Lauren Silverman, NPR
At some point today, you will probably flip on a light switch. That simple action connects you to the oldest and most plentiful source of American electricity: coal.
Since the early 1880s — when Edison and Tesla pioneered the distribution of electrical power into our homes — most of that power has come from the process of burning coal.
Four years ago, something started to change. First it was slow, and then this past month that change became dramatic. Coal now generates just 34 percent of our electricity, down from about 50 percent just four years ago.
Now, the loss of coal as the dominant energy source is having damaging effects on the towns that once relied on the black rock for their livelihood.
David G. Victor is a professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and director of the School’s Laboratory on International Law and Regulation. His research focuses on how the design of regulatory law affects issues such as environmental pollution and the operation of major energy markets. He is the author of Global Warming Gridlock, named one of The Economist's best science and technology books of 2011.
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