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Coal’s Connection to Current Events


 People unfamiliar with the energy sector may see coal mining as an outdated, dirty business, that is if they see it at all. More recently, the coal business keeps hitting social media newsfeeds. Much of the limelight has been cast by the new Trump Administration, but an interconnected world economy and geo-political affairs has also shown the importance of this dirty, outdated commodity.

One of the difficulties of adapting to life in a connected world is deciding what or who to believe. So much of the noise is factually correct, but the facts have been assembled to support a false narrative. For example, NBC aired a coal-related piece reporting that President Trump was keeping his promise to America’s coal miners, but it didn’t matter anyway. They reported that coal-related employment had declined to 70,000 jobs (over the last 117 years), while jobs in the renewable energy sector had grown to 700,000. Those figures likely included all the part-time workers who assemble the imported solar panels. Reading between the lines, however, the bigger story is that 70,000 American miners supply the fuel for one third of the electricity generated in this country, while 10 times as many people working with renewables generate less than 1% of the nation’s electricity. By making an apples-to-oranges comparison of employment, they assembled a set of facts to produce a story that slighted coal and mocked the Trump administration, while advancing the “green” energy agenda.

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