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Rolling Coal: Everything Else About It Is Pretty Good

Slate: "Prius Repellent is a perfect introduction to one of the Obama era’s great conservative subcultures: the men and women who “roll coal.” For as little as $500, anyone with a diesel truck and a dream can install a smoke stack and the equipment that lets a driver “trick the engine” into needing more fuel. The result is a burst of black smoke that doubles as a political or cultural statement—a protest against the EPA, a ritual shaming of hybrid “rice burners,” and a stellar source of truck memes." [more inside]
posted by porn in the woods on Jul 6, 2014 - 134 comments

The Moral Question Of Our Time: Can We Share The Planet?

UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 23, 2014 - 50 comments

Hashima Island: in 1974 the coal ran out, but the ghosts remained

A few miles off the coast of Japan lies "Battleship Island," or Gunkanjima (軍艦島), the Japanese nickname for Hashima Island, due to its resemblance to the Japanese Tosa battleship. The island was formerly a densely populated coal mining town, purchased by Mitsubishi in 1890, but by the 1960s the coal was running out, and in 1974 the island was quickly vacated as Mitsubishi offered residents jobs elsewhere. Now, the island is an urban explorer's dream, though the island is not completely open to the public for tours. Last year, Google trekker walked the island, providing a virtual tour of the island. And if the roughly 40 year old ruins aren't foreboding enough, Bryan James put together a Chrome experiment called Hashima Island: Forgotten World, based on the Google maps tour of the site.
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 21, 2014 - 15 comments

a licorice smell

Tractor-trailers full of bottled water are headed to affected counties in West Virginia after public authorities told residents to "refrain from using the water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing and washing” following the Elk River's contamination with 4-methylcyclohexane methanol. [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi on Jan 10, 2014 - 88 comments

Why find more? Unburnable carbon as financial assets.

There is another bubble. Before it's burned, Coal, Oil and Gas sit for years on the balance sheets of private (and national) resource companies, as "known reserve" assets. Assets that, someday, will become revenues. Or will they? And if they won't, what will the balance sheets of ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Petrochina, and Gazprom actually look like? [more inside]
posted by anthill on Dec 19, 2013 - 22 comments

Black Lung Coverup

Coal industry's go-to law firm withheld evidence of black lung, at expense of sick miners. "Jackson Kelly, documents show, over the years has withheld unfavorable evidence and shaped the opinions of its reviewing doctors by providing only what it wanted them to see. Miners, often lacking equally savvy lawyers or even any representation, had virtually no way of knowing this evidence existed, let alone the wherewithal to obtain it."
posted by jaduncan on Nov 10, 2013 - 37 comments

The Cloud Begins with Coal

"The information and technology ecosystem now represents around 10 per cent of the world's electricity generation, and it's hungry for filthy coal. In a report likely to inspire depression among environmentalists, and fluffy statements from tech companies, analyst firm Digital Power Group has synthesized numerous reports and crunched data on the real electricity consumption of our digital world." - IT now 10 percent of world's electricity consumption, report finds
posted by jammy on Aug 17, 2013 - 34 comments

Brass in the blood: UK coal miner brass bands, and bands world-wide

In the United Kingdom, many brass bands were started by colliery owners, and funded in part by the coal miners themselves. Some of those bands live on, after the coal pits have been closed for years. These bands are facing hard times, with limited funding and waning interest in the music, but some youth join bands to continue family traditions, and the government provides some funding to numerous bands. If you'd like to know more about brass bands in the UK and around the world, Internet Bandsman's Everything Within (IBEW) has tons of material, links to bands in the UK and elsewhere as well as a list of extinct bands and vintage brass band pictures, local events and radio shows, recordings, and plenty more.
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 10, 2013 - 22 comments

Scienc-y people do useful stuff, again.

This might change things. It might also really annoy people who have been putting scads of money into carbon capture.
posted by qinn on Feb 21, 2013 - 38 comments

I love a sun-powered country, A land of deepening mines, of ragged nuclear plants, of biomass and hydropower

While developed countries are pondering whether they should sign up to The Kyoto 2 Protocol and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5% by 2020, based on 2000 levels which may be of questionable impact, the tiny Pacific territory of Tokelau has ditched its primary source of electricity generation, costly diesel imports, in favour of 100% renewable solar power, becoming the first nation in the world to do so, at a time when the global energy systems of the 21C are struggling towards decarbonisation. [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on Nov 9, 2012 - 60 comments

“Americans don’t look at us as human beings. They look at us as tools for work.”

Journalist Chris Hedges and Illustrator Joe Sacco have co-authored Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt about life in the ‘sacrifice zones’ in the American Dream.
Camden, New Jersey where:
The poor have to help the poor, because the ones who make the money are helping the people with money.
And from West Virginia: The Story of Rudy the Miner, with text.
An interview with Hedges.
(Mountain coal rape previously 1; 2).
posted by adamvasco on Jul 12, 2012 - 31 comments

David versus Goliath... again...

Big oil companies make more than $300 million every day. "Why should Americans prop up these companies with tax dollars and have to pay ridiculous fuel prices?" Self-described 'Democratic socialist' Bernie Sanders (Vermont) introduces a bill to cut $113B of fossil fuel subsidies. [more inside]
posted by nickrussell on May 11, 2012 - 146 comments

The Black Damp

On the morning of November 13, 1909 there were around 500 men and boys working in the St. Paul mine in Cherry, IL. It would be more than six months before the last body was recovered. [more inside]
posted by timsteil on Nov 12, 2011 - 21 comments

Bloomberg Fights Coal

"Ending coal power production is the right thing to do, because while it may seem to be an inexpensive energy source the impact on our environment and the impact on public health is significant..." New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has announced a donation of $50 million dollars to The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign.
posted by beisny on Jul 24, 2011 - 28 comments

Asian pollution temporarily slows global warming

Although the past 12 years have seen the warmest 10 years on record, temperatures have remained fairly steady, even while CO2 emissions grew by nearly a third. Temperatures should have been increasing during this period, rather 1998 was tied with 2010 for hottest on record. Now a study suggests why (pdf): sulfur emissions from Asian coal plants (China mostly) are so high they mimic the effects of a volcano which can cause short term cooling by reflecting light back into space. Insidiously, the long-term warming caused by CO2 (coal) has been masked by short-term cooling of sulfur (coal).
posted by stbalbach on Jul 5, 2011 - 85 comments

What happens when you flip the light switch?

“If you try to do what they do in West Virginia in the Berkshires, the Catskills or the Sierra Nevadas, or in Utah or Colorado, people would just put you in jail. Over the past 10 years, they’ve blown up and leveled an area of eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia that is larger than the size of Delaware. They’ve blown up the 500 biggest mountains in West Virginia. They explode everyday 2,500 tons of dynamite, or ammonia nitrate explosives. It’s the equivalent of a Hiroshima bomb once a week.” In the valleys of Appalachia, a battle is being fought over a mountain. It is a battle with severe consequences that affect every American, regardless of their social status, economic background or where they live. It is a battle that has taken many lives and continues to do so the longer it is waged. This is the story of The Last Mountain.
posted by tallthinone on Jun 3, 2011 - 49 comments

Who cares?

Coal cares! "Puff-Puff™ inhalers are available free to any family living within 200 miles of a coal plant, and each inhaler comes with a $10 coupon towards the cost of the asthma medication itself." [more inside]
posted by cmoj on May 11, 2011 - 23 comments

Beautiful photo essay.

AP photographer Kevin Frayer moved to New Delhi in 2009. Here he captures a community of coal scavengers who live and collect coal illegally for a few dollars a day in the village of Bokapahari, India
posted by maiamaia on Feb 17, 2011 - 13 comments

ending corporate welfare

Get the Energy Sector off the Dole - Why ending all government subsidies for fuel production will lead to a cleaner energy future—and why Obama has a rare chance to make it happen.
posted by kliuless on Jan 12, 2011 - 42 comments

Bloody Harlan

In 1972, miners at Duke Energy's Brookside coal mine in Harlan County, KY voted to organize with the United Mineworkers of America. When the company refused to accept a contract, the workers went on strike. [more inside]
posted by TrialByMedia on Dec 3, 2010 - 24 comments

Coal Without Carbon

Dirty Coal, Clean Future
To environmentalists, "clean coal" is an insulting oxymoron. But for now, the only way to meet the world's energy needs, and to arrest climate change before it produces irreversible cataclysm, is to use coal—dirty, sooty, toxic coal—in more-sustainable ways. The good news is that new technologies are making this possible. China is now the leader in this area, the Google and Intel of the energy world. If we are serious about global warming, America needs to work with China to build a greener future on a foundation of coal. Otherwise, the clean-energy revolution will leave us behind, with grave costs for the world's climate and our economy. (more here and responses here, here and here)
posted by kliuless on Nov 12, 2010 - 49 comments

The other toxic energy spill

Coal Ash: the other energy spill. A five-part investigative series from the Institute for Southern Studies about the toxic residue left after coal is burned.
1. Coal's Dirty Secret Coal ash is "the second-largest industrial waste stream in the U.S." but is not regulated by the federal government
2. Disaster in East Tennessee Effects of the December 2008 rupture of a dike releasing "a billion gallons of muddy, gray coal ash loaded with arsenic, lead and other contaminants" are still being felt
3. Power Politics Coal ash was given a special exemption from hazardous waste regulation in 1980; attempts since then to tighten the exemption have failed
4. Dumpsites in Disguise Toxic coal ash is increasingly being recycled into building materials and other uses, again largely unregulated
5. What's Next for Coal Ash? The EPA has offered two proposals; one treats coal ash like hazardous waste, the other like "ordinary solid waste."
posted by mediareport on Jun 17, 2010 - 29 comments

Picturing Climate Change

Ahead of the global climate talks, nine photographers from the photo agency NOOR photographed climate stories from around the world. Their goal: to document some of the causes and consequences, from deforestation to changing sea levels, as well as the people whose lives and jobs are part of that carbon culture. Warming threatens lifestyle of Russian herders | Refugees flee drought, war in East Africa | Greenland’s shrinking ice hurts natives [more inside]
posted by netbros on Dec 10, 2009 - 3 comments

What part of ‘execute my f*ing trade’ don’t you understand!?

“Uhh,” he stuttered, “wait. Are you delivering… coal? To… uhh, us?” “Well, yeah! Twenty-eight thousand tons of the good ol’ black gold!” The workman sarcastically furrowed his brow adding, “I mean, we did get the right address, har har. This is Æxecor? And this is Pier 53? And you are Brad, the fella who ordered it, right?” It was that moment that Brad’s palm almost immediately made contact with his forehead. He realized that something must have really gone awry: instead of virtually trading 28,000 tons of coal, Brad had somehow ended up with 28,000 tons of real coal.

posted by empath on Dec 3, 2009 - 59 comments

Yesterday's Energy of Tomorrow...and more

Peak Oil, 1925. In 2000, 20% of new buildings will be solar equipped. By the late 1990s, 90% of the world's energy will be nuclear-generated. These and other erroneous projections are being collected as part of the Forecast Project on the website Inventing Green: The Lost History of Alternative Energy in America.
posted by Miko on Jul 27, 2009 - 65 comments

Black Lung Rising.

Black Lung Rising. "When coal miners suffering from black lung reach the point where they can no longer dig coal and they meet guidelines such as working the required number of years exposed to coal dust, they become eligible to file a black lung claim to obtain monthly benefits to live on ... When the decision is made to award a miner monthly benefits, the coal company has the right to appeal that decision, and often does." [more inside]
posted by grabbingsand on Jul 16, 2009 - 16 comments

Coal Ash Spill

Environmental disaster in Tennessee. On Monday, 5.4 million cubic yards (over 1 billion gallons; the Exxon Valdez oil spill was about 11 million gallons) of toxic coal ash sludge broke through an earthen retaining wall of a holding pond at TVA’s Kingston power plant, damaging 12 homes and covering over 400 acres up to six feet deep.
posted by homunculus on Dec 26, 2008 - 59 comments

There must have been some magic in clean coal technology

Just in time for Christmas, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity brings you the Clean Coal Carolers! Their repertoire includes such classics as Frosty the Coal Man, Deck the Halls (with Clean Coal), Clean Coal Night, and Oh Technology. Of course, the Scrooge-like bosses of the ACCCE, suffering from an incredible lack of Christmas spirit, took the Carolers off their website only a couple of days after they were posted — but thanks to the magic of YouTube, you can still revel in the festive sounds of the season. [more inside]
posted by Johnny Assay on Dec 15, 2008 - 19 comments

China coal powerplant myths debunked

MIT report debunks China energy myth. A detailed analysis of powerplants in China by MIT researchers debunks the widespread notion that outmoded energy technology or the utter absence of government regulation is to blame for that country's notorious air-pollution problems. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Oct 9, 2008 - 11 comments

Coal.

Coal. Cheap, Abundant, Clean.
posted by brownpau on Jul 25, 2008 - 44 comments

China and India have reported massive finds of frozen methane

China and India have reported massive finds of frozen methane clathrate off their coasts and, along with Japan and other countries, are spending large sums to develop it into a new source of fossil energy. This is important for developing countries as there may be more frozen methane in the world than all the oil, gas and coal combined, and it is available right off their coasts. Some believe it can be extracted in a carbon neutral manner, but methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and the scarily named clathrate gun hypothesis provides some fuel for thought about digging this stuff up.
posted by stbalbach on Dec 14, 2007 - 31 comments

Mountaintop Removal Mining

Appalachian Apocalypse. Mountaintop removal mining (previously) has a devastating effect on the environment and local populations. The Bush administration wants to loosen regulations and expand the practice. [Via Wired Science.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 25, 2007 - 43 comments

Down The Mine

Down The Mine. An essay on coal mining as seen by George Orwell in 1937. [Via The Huffington Post.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 18, 2007 - 20 comments

Peak Coal?

Is the USA the Saudi Arabia of Coal? Not so fast! It appears that US coal reserves have been grossly overstated. (See also this report in PDF format.) Does this mean we've already hit peak coal in the lower 48? How does this change the plans of those who want to use CTL to ease our dependence on foreign oil.
posted by Crotalus on Jun 23, 2007 - 28 comments

US Energy Flows

Lawrence Livermore National Lab produces fascinating charts of energy flow in the US (more). More energy use statisitics can be found at the Energy Information Administration.
posted by pombe on Feb 16, 2007 - 30 comments

Solar power rental

CitizenRe is a solar power rental company for the home. Free to install (!), a monthly rental fee is equal to what would normally be paid to the power company. Video.
posted by stbalbach on Jan 11, 2007 - 67 comments

Hummers for all, thanks to Apartheid and the Nazis.

Green Nazis.
posted by Meatbomb on Oct 24, 2006 - 17 comments

Big OilCoal. The other black fossil fuel.

The average American uses 20 pounds of coal a day. "our shiny white iPod economy is propped up by dirty black rocks.. I see more people dying of particle air pollution than are dying of AIDS." Coal accounts for nearly 40 percent of America's carbon dioxide emissions. Big Coal by Jeff Goodell.
posted by stbalbach on Jun 24, 2006 - 79 comments

Propaganda Engine

Oil and Gas are such slut bags! Coal is so cute! Don't you feel like such a schmuck for not liking coal? A NPO promoting the benefits of coal with children for spokespeople.
posted by thefreek on May 13, 2006 - 35 comments

Gunkanjima

Gunkanjima or Battleship Island is 480 x 160 meters and was home to more than 5000 people. Abandoned for more than 40 years it is a microcosm of 20th century industrial development. A soundtrack to the photos. Or take the multimedia tour. Urban exploration.
posted by arse_hat on Feb 25, 2006 - 18 comments

Mountaintop Removal Mining - High Resolution

Mountaintop Removal Mining. Now in High Resolution. Some amazing pictures of this mining process.
posted by grefo on Oct 1, 2004 - 8 comments

So, umm.....about that oil in Iraq....

Wind Power cheaper than coal, electric car does 0 to 60 in 3.7 w/300 mile cruising range

It's official: wind power is now cheaper than electricity from Coal, Stanford Researchers report in a study published in the Journal Science. Quiz for Metafilter science wonks: how much of current US energy consumption could be supplied by spending 200 billion dollars on wind turbines?

Meanwhile...Powered by 6800 lithium-ion batteries, the Tzero "from zero to 100 and through the quarter mile, will run with, or beat, the $281,000 Lamborghini Murci
posted by troutfishing on Sep 24, 2003 - 53 comments

McIntyre, Pennsylvania, The Everyday Life Of A Coal Mining Company Town: 1910-1947

McIntyre, Pennsylvania, The Everyday Life Of A Coal Mining Company Town: 1910-1947.
posted by plep on Sep 13, 2003 - 3 comments

From Beneath You, It Devours.

Centralia, PA is a small town on top of rich, seemingly inexhaustible coal reserves in rural Pennsylvania. In May of 1962, an above ground fire ignited these underground coal mines, and the fires have burned ever since, for forty years straight. The towns population (and landscape) have been decimated. More info here.
posted by jonson on Jan 11, 2003 - 11 comments

Coal + Diesel = Alternative Fuel?

Coal + Diesel = Alternative Fuel? I didn't think it was this easy, but Marriott International shows us how to make alternative fuel and a handy windfall, all at the same time:

1. Buy a ton of coal (cost: $24)
2. Spray it with diesel
3. Sell it at a loss (40 cents on the dollar)
4. Hold your hand out for $26 per ton from the government in tax credits--for making an "alternative fuel." It made Marriott an estimated $120 million last year. So there's a late Christmas message for you: nothing's more valuable than the things you make yourself. Especially a fat profit.
posted by busbyism on Jan 2, 2003 - 23 comments

Update on the trapped coal miners

Paging Andy Warhol What happens during the 16th minute after you unexpectedly become famous? Here's a follow up story on the Coal Miners trapped and then rescued last July. You know its gonna get weirder, so lets get on with the show
posted by BentPenguin on Nov 13, 2002 - 9 comments

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