The Talking Dog

April 6, 2010, Cheap energy isn't cheap

Condolences for the families of the at least 25 dead in a coal mine accident in West Virginia, the worst American mine disaster in at least 25 years, The mine at issue, owned by the Massey company, which itself was involved in other recent accidents, had numerous violations found by federal inspectors, but continued to operate anyway.

Coal has always been deeemed "cheap" energy because "the market" has valued the human cost (of both these kind of tragedies and of the horrifying medical conditions suffered by miners) and the environmental cost (we can add global warming to the air pollution and ground and water devastation wrought by mining)... to be naught, compared to the profit involved. "Profits before people" has been the religious credo of capitalism now for about two centuries; I suppose it would be futile to try to point out that it WAS NOT ALWAS SO. No... crazy talk...

At this point, the United States uses more coal in the summer months than at any other time (think "air conditioning"). Just something to think about in a moment of reflection; not that anyone will give it a second thought, or of course, demand that their government force us to in any way adjust our behavior to a more sensible and rational course any more than school massacres cause us to re-think our national love affair with firearms, The myth is always more powerful than the facts, I'm afraid.

Well... deep sigh. Life is full of tragedies. The preventable ones just seem a little bit worse.