Our local "newspapers" like to place primary blame for the decline of West Virginia coal mining on President Obama and "his" EPA. For any number of reasons, he is a convenient scapegoat -- never mind that market forces and a growing public awareness of the causes of climate change started coal's decline long before his presidency. And while the Ogden "newspapers" have recently acknowledged that the availability of cheap natural gas is a factor in coal's decline, they continue to ignore what has become apparent to anyone not dependent upon on them as a source of information about energy matters -- that for an increasing number of Americans, something needs to be done about carbon-based fuels. For our local "newspapers," corporate interests (especially fossil fuel) , and far too many politicians, our response should be to ignore what scientists and the pope tell us, it is West Virginians (and other coal-connected Appalachians) who know the truth about the president, climate change and coal and we should listen to them. (If you include the politicians who support these positions, I think that I've just described the various armies in the "war on coal.")
Yesterday, the pro-coal army got suddenly smaller as a number of major Fortune 500 corporations deserted. As Time magazine wrote:
On Wednesday, nine Fortune 500 companies announced plans to switch to sourcing 100% renewable energy, joining a growing group of corporations recognizing the risks of climate change. . . .
Companies taking part in Wednesday’s announcement, a list that includes household names like Walmart, Goldman Sachs and Starbucks, have set individual time frames to go 100% renewable, from a 2015 deadline set by Voya Financial to a 2050 deadline set by Johnson & Johnson. . . .
The full list of companies that committed to go renewable Wednesday includes NIKE Inc., Procter & Gamble, Salesforce and Steelcase.
In the year-and-a half that I have been doing this blog, I have become increasingly aware of what the decline in coal has done to the state's economy and in particular, the lives of coal miners. At the same time, however, I've become convinced that coal's future is extremely bleak and that the sooner we start preparing for the inevitable the sooner the state will return to some form of economic normalcy.