Called to the coalfields: How an Appalachian church is spurring economic action

Due to a rapidly changing economy and a range of excessive regulations from the federal government, the American coal mining industry is facing serious challenges. For states like West Virginia, the effects are particularly painful, as mining towns and communities struggle under a projected 23% decline in related jobs in recent years, leading vast numbers of residents to leave the state altogether. Continue Reading...

Of Men, Mountains, and Mining

Here’s a brief report from The Environmental Report on mountain-top removal mining, and the increasing involvement of religious groups weighing in on the question. One of these groups is Christians for the Mountains. Continue Reading...

Coal-Powered Hybrids

As I said in 2006: Without too much exaggeration, you could say that today’s electric cars are really coal-powered. If you look at the sources of electricity in the US, “coal provides over half of the electricity flowing into American homes.” That means that in one ideal world of the alternative fuel crowd, when you plug your car in, you’re plugging it in to a coal plant (this is also why the idea of consumer carbon credits is catching on). Continue Reading...

Emissions and a New Coal Boom

One more note related to the week’s reflections on energy and the environment. This brief piece from Marketplace highlights coal’s newfound popularity, “Coal makes a comeback” (here’s an in-depth and more technical piece from the NYT. Continue Reading...

Costly Coal Clean-up

Coal has long been a target of environmentalist anger. Soot, strip-mining, smokestacks—so many ugly features. Much of that opposition is overblown, of course (we’ve got to get energy from somewhere), but some of it has merit. Continue Reading...

Plug-In Hybrids Are Not So Green

The Wired.com blog Autopia passes along this NYT story outlining some of the fundamental challenges facing plug-in hybrid electric cars. The basic formula for the appeal of such hybrids is as follows: “The electric system runs mostly on coal, natural gas and uranium, all relatively plentiful. Continue Reading...

Green Atomic Power

As I’ve written before, you don’t need to be a climate change convert to believe that nuclear power represents a very attractive alternative to nonrenewable fossil fuels. In this lengthy piece in Cosmos magazine, Tim Dean examines the possibility of nuclear reactors based on thorium rather than uranium. Continue Reading...

Transcendence and Obsolescence: The Responsible Stewardship of Oil

In this week’s commentary, “Transcendence and Obsolescence: The Responsible Stewardship of Oil,” I ask the question: “Why did God create oil?” I raise the question within the context of debates about global warming and the burning of fossil fuels, including Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth and the work of the Evangelical Climate Initiative. Continue Reading...