BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

In mid-March 2012, when commenting about rising fuel prices, US President Obama was quoted as saying:

‘We can’t have an energy strategy for the last century that traps us in the past. We need an energy strategy for the future – an all-of-the-above strategy for the 21st century that develops every source of American-made energy. Yes, develop as much oil and gas as we can, but also develop wind power and solar power and biofuels.’

What is noticeable is that coal was not mentioned in any shape or form. Coal is no longer fashionable – if it ever was. Rolling Stone journalist Jeff Goodell wrote on 16 March 2012: ‘In the world of energy politics, the sudden vanishing of the word “coal” is a remarkable and unprecedented event.’ ...

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