A Proposal to Buy Out the US Coal Industry

Not only did Felix Kramer found CalCars– a non-profit dedicated to promoting plug-in electric vehicles– and build the world’s first Prius, but he has also come up with an interesting proposal.  Kramer, along with Gil Friend, has proposed to buy up and shut down every coal company in the United States for the pretty modest cost of $50 billion.

This estimate includes the cost of closing the mines, re-training and re-employing the workers, and creating new economies for coal-based communities over a ten-year span.  Since a good number of billionaires have already pledged to give half of their assets to charity through the Giving Pledge, the idea of raising this amount of money isn’t so far fetched.

The motivation behind this proposal is simple: coal is an outdated and incredibly dirty energy source.  The coal industry is what’s called a “stranded asset,” something that has lost its value ahead of its projected economic life.  By phasing out the coal industry and replacing it with cleaner, renewable energy sources, the quality of human life would increase greatly.  Pollution would be decreased, human health would benefit, and our country’s largest source of greenhouse gases would be eliminated.

So what do you think?  Could a national industry be bought out in one swoop?

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