LEWISBURG, Pa. — Author Jeff Goodell will give the talk, "The Return of King Coal: How America's Fossil Fuel Dinosaur Will Fuel Our Future and Cook Our Planet," on Thursday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m. in Rooke Chemistry Auditorium at Bucknell University.
The talk, which is free to the public, is part of the university's celebration of Earth Week. It is sponsored by the Environmental Club, Office of the Provost, and the departments of civil and environmental engineering, English, political science and psychology.
Goodell, who is the author of Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future, also is contributing editor at Rolling Stone and The New York Times Magazine.
He is the author of The New York Times bestseller Our Story: 77 Hours That Tested Our Friendship and Our Faith, relating the experiences of the nine Quecreek miners trapped underground; The Cyberthief and the Samurai, describing the hunt for the computer hacker Kevin Mitnick; and his memoir, Sunnyvale: The Rise and Fall of a Silicon Valley Family, a New York Times Notable Book.
Thinking beyond coal
In a New York Times article from June 23, 2006, Goodell questions the wisdom of using coal to make liquid fuel. He pits the detrimental effects on the environment – coal-to-liquid plants destroy the landscape and use three barrels of water to produce one barrel of fuel – against the decrease in miners' wages and the rise in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels contributing to global warming.
Goodell says in the June 23 article, "The biggest problem with our bounty of coal is not what it does to our mountains or the atmosphere, but what it does to our minds. It preserves the illusion that we don't have to change our lives. Given the profound challenges we face with the end of cheap oil and the arrival of global warming, this is a dangerous fantasy.
"If we had less coal, we might replace the 19th-century notion that we can drill and burn our way to prosperity with a more modern view of efficiency and sustainability. Instead of spending billions of dollars each year to subsidize tapping out yet another finite resource, we'd pour that money into solar energy, biofuels and other renewable resources.
"We'd be creating jobs in new industries, not protecting them in old ones. And we'd understand that the real fuel of the future is not coal but creativity."
Contact: Division of Communications
Posted April 14, 2008