As the U.S. confronts climate change with a move to a new, clean energy future, what happens to those places that gave us the old energy — the fossil fuels that powered the country for more than a century?
In “Welcome to AppalachAmerica,” host Jeff Young and the reporters at the Ohio Valley ReSource dig into the big questions around this energy shift: How can we move forward on clean energy when so many people fear they’ll be left behind? Can coal country come out a winner as we tackle climate change? And just what would a “just transition” look like?
You’ll hear from miners making a career shift, people trying to reimagine their communities, and some of Washington’s power players on climate policy. And you’ll learn why the path to solutions to some of America’s biggest challenges runs right through Appalachia.
Episode one of “Welcome to AppalachAmerica” features conversation with White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy about President Joe Biden’s plans for investment in coal-dependent communities. We also hear from ReSource reporters about chronic flooding that afflicts parts of Appalachia — and how a warming climate is raising the risk of rising waters.
We know what most people think: Appalachia is Trump country. Coal country voters don't care about climate change. But a look at the numbers might make you think twice. We talk with folks at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication about surprising attitudes about clean energy in coal country, and we explore the root causes of the low voter turnout in much of Appalachia. Also, in an extended interview from our book, “Appalachian Fall,” we hear from scholar John Gaventa about his groundbreaking study on power and powerlessness in an Appalachian coal mining community — and where we got the phrase “AppalachAmerica.”
In this episode, conversation with United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts about climate change and coal. As President Biden announced a goal to halve U.S. global warming emissions, Roberts had a message of his own: he will not accept further job losses in the coal sector. Reporter Curtis Tate explains the complicated politics around Biden’s climate agenda. And we hear from a former Kentucky coal miner who made a power switch of his own, from mining underground to using energy from the sun.
Host: Jeff Young
Audio Editor: Rip Rinehart
Theme music: Michael Lipton and Tistram Lozaw
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