EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCLIMATE & COAL
from Eyewitness News Online
Some Say Climate Change Could Drastically Change Power Industry
Reported by: Ashley Smith
Videographer: Aakash Vaghela
Web Producer: Ashley Smith
Reported: Feb. 24, 2012 4:03 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 24, 2012 4:26 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
When you flip the light switch, chances are that the power is provided by coal. 99% of West Virginia's energy is generated by its most abundant natural resource. Additionally, the coal industry provides thousands of jobs and millions of dollars annually. But some scientists say global warming and climate change will force utility companies to change the way they generate electricity.
“The planet is very likely going to get hot, year after year, after year and that's a challenge for West Virginia it's a challenge for the coal industry,” said Eban Goodstein.
Eban Goodstein is the director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy and studied geology at Williams College. He was the key note speaker at the University of Charleston's Climate Change and Power Solutions event.
“He talked about how instrumental coal has been since the 1840's or 50's and how it's really driven this country and I don't think that's something that can just be thrown away overnight,” said University of Charleston student Eric Bodge.
Students and faculty alike say they don't want to see an end to the use of coal but they do want to see cleaner energy.
“Is there a mix for cleaner coal to be a part of that power source? I certainly hope so,” said University of Charleston President Dr. Ed Welch.
“I don't think coal is going to be necessarily relevant here in 30 years or so. I think that we need to look for a mixture of different energies,” said Bodge.
“Trying to figure out ways to transition the coal industry, new products from coal, and then beyond coal to a new kind of future,” said Goodstein.
Goodstein is optimistic that those employed by the coal industry will still find a job here at home.
“There isn't just heavy equipment operators and miners, there's engineers and chemists and other folks who have a lot of opportunities in this new clean energy world,” said Goodstein.
Whether the globe is warming is still a heated debate. One that time and research may eventually settle.
The speaking series will continue through April.
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