This past week I had the surreal experience of doing a live interview with BBC World News. I did this on zoom from my garage. How classic 2020 is that?
The interview was in conjunction with The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivering a major address which identifies climate change as the U.N.’s number one area of focus for this year and beyond. “Our planet is broken,” Guterres said on BBC. He describes human treatment of the environment as a “suicidal” war on nature. “Nature always strikes back, and is doing so with gathering force and fury,” he said while citing flooding, fires, droughts, and hurricanes. The objective, said the UN secretary general, will be to cut global emissions by 45% by 2030 compared with 2010 levels.
People in coal areas who read this must surely feel a mix of emotions. We know the planet isn’t healthy right now. Our hollers are flooding at unsustainable rates. Our gardens aren’t doing well with all this weird weather. Our roads aren’t holding up to the wild temperature swings.
Yet coal is what we know. We’re scared for our future. We can’t help but ask, “does ‘cutting emissions’ equate to ‘cutting coal jobs?’”