Energy analyst Matt Frost has an idea so crazy to combat the use of coal that it just might be crazy enough to work.
Coal is a driving force of carbon emissions and anthropogenic climate change. It is also the cheapest source of energy in the US and around the globe, meaning no matter how much we invest in renewable energy sources, coal will continue to burn and the US will continue to ship millions of tons of it worldwide each year. According to Frost, however, the government could change that.
Frost suggests the US government purchase all of the coal and— in the same fashion as for a preserved forest— do nothing with it. By borrowing the money necessary to purchase all coal reserves in the US, it will be kept safely underground. Like a new version of carbon capture and storage without the above ground capture, the end of using US coal would effectively stop generally unfounded, greenwashed plans clean coal. Not only would this end US reliance on coal, but it would drive the prices up internationally forcing other nations to also look to renewable energy sources as well.
An idea more than just a bit far-fetched, to be sure, but if the high-costs of coal associated with pollution cleanup, carbon capture and healthcare due to poor air quality are factored in, it might be worth considering.
Read more about Frost's creative carbon idea on The Week.