COAL generates 40 percent of the world's electric power, and use of the fuel has grown more than 50 percent in 10 years, according the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
But the effort to end its use is serious.
The current administration has imposed rules that virtually bar construction of new coal-fired plants in the United States, and the Environmental Protection Agency is pursuing rules that will force the closure of more existing plants.
Furthermore, President Obama said in June that the U.S. government will no longer finance coal-fired plants in developing countries through the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The World Bank and the European Investment Bank have followed suit.
These institutions have put more than $10 billion into coal plants in developing nations in the past five years.
Noted Mark Drajem of Bloomberg News: "Supporters of the fuel source say it's a low-cost way for poor nations to provide light, refrigeration and air conditioning to their people."
But today's prohibitionists forget that it was just that access to an abundant, low-cost fuel source that allowed the West to develop and obtain the standard of living it enjoys today.
WIRT County is not a big place, but it knows how to have a good time. The most recent Wirt County Fair featured, among other attractions, live performers, the annual Wirt County Fair Talent Show, and furthermore:
A concert by the Wirt County High School Band, a rabbit show, a hog show, a garden tractor pull, a beef and sheep livestock show, truck pulls, a flower show, an ATV drag race, a pretty-baby contest, the West Virginia State Arm Wrestling Championship, a 100-foot banana split, a horseshoe-pitching contest, a haybale-throwing contest, a skillet-throwing contest and a nail-driving contest.
Good, clean, silly fun.
Those who missed the Wirt County event may want to go to the 89th State Fair of West Virginia. It opened Friday in Fairlea, Greenbrier County.
As many as 190,000 people are expected to attend over the next week. There's not much the State Fair doesn't offer.
It's a wonderful, family-friendly way to celebrate summer -- a tonic for the soul of a cynical world.