President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday covered most of the topics one would have expected him to – immigration, infrastructure, the success of his corporate tax cuts and the looming danger of North Korea.
One topic that caught some viewers by surprise, though, was the apparent “war on beautiful, clean coal.”
For starters, “beautiful?” Really? That was the adjective he thought most fitting to describe coal?
All jokes aside, not only were Trump’s statements about the war on clean coal inaccurate, but they also infer that he doesn’t have quite a firm grasp on how unsuccessful clean coal actually is.
According to Newsweek, there’s actually no war on coal, but if there were, it wouldn’t be over. Newsweek said that though 771 coal miners were hired in 2017, the coal industry is still far behind other sources of energy. Domestic production of coal is slightly up, but exports fell 23 percent in 2015 and another 32 percent through the first half of 2016. Also, solar and wind industries employ nearly three times the number of people that the coal industry does.
Not only is the coal industry not doing as great as it was made to be seen, but the industry Trump seems to be also discussing doesn’t seem to be boasting any success stories either.
Clean coal, also known as “carbon capture and storage (CCS)” is a more environmentally friendly way to use coal as an energy source. The technology captures 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emission from burning coal, preventing it from entering the atmosphere, according to the CCS Association. It is a method that was actually supported by former President Barack Obama’s administration. Though this method appears to be more environmentally friendly, the CCS process is astronomically more expensive than the coal burning process. Also, Robert Murray, the CEO of Murray Energy, the country’s largest privately held coal-mining company, said that CCS doesn’t work.
Regardless of whether clean coal is better for the environment or not, Trump probably doesn’t care. He’s made it very obvious that he doesn’t believe in global warming, calling it a hoax created by China.
Either way, the coal industry is not up and running like Trump would lead one to believe, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The newspaper wrote that the energy market is killing the coal industry. Other energy sources like natural gas are significantly cheaper, so unless we run out of natural gas anytime soon, we won’t see a boom in beautiful coal.
The Voice is intended to best represent the collective opinion of The Editorial Board. It is written by The Setonian’s Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor.