Why do Americans contribute more heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere than Europeans with similar standards of living? One reason is our dependence on cars, but another, less-talked-about reason is coal. Americans rely on coal for nearly half our electricity. Electrical generation pumps out more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector — cars, trucks, planes, and ships -- combined. Can we burn coal more cleanly? Can we get off of it?
To explore these questions, a new American RadioWorks documentary goes back to the roots of our addiction to coal, and shows how our fuel choices changed American culture and history. Using lively archival audio and contemporary interviews, Power and Smoke provides fascinating insight into the past and the future of a country built on coal.