The regulations proposed by the EPA to control carbon dioxide emissions should be welcomed by anyone who cares about future generations. CO2 contributes to global warming, a fact that neither Exxon nor the United Mine Workers union disputes.
These regulations are a welcomed first step, but of course, they won’t solve the global warming problem completely. Among other things, the world needs buy-in from other countries.
The day after the EPA announced its regulations, China, the world’s largest contributor to global warming, announced its own emissions limits. That, too, is welcomed news.
As usual, the coal and electric industries are claiming that these regulations will destroy jobs and hurt the economy. We could take their claims a little more seriously if they hadn’t cried wolf so many times in the past.
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Here’s the thing: We will still need electricity. We’ll just have to get it from different sources. That means new jobs will open up. Yes, some coal miners will eventually lose their jobs. But these jobs can be replaced by safe jobs in clean factories that produce wind turbines and other generation devices.
We owe it to coal miners to make sure they have either good pensions or good jobs in clean energy. There are fewer than 80,000 coal miners in the U.S., so taking care of miners is not a difficult problem to solve.