CinemaSpin Review

‘Dirty Business’ has enough spin to make one dizzy. For 90 minutes, viewers are led around in circles by Rolling Stone reporter Jeff Goodell as he walks us through a confusing hit piece on America’s coal industry. Conspicuously absent from Goodell’s narration is the main reason why coal produces over half of America’s energy in the first place– it’s cheap. And lower energy costs mean a higher standard of living for all of us.

This omission is startling when considering that if Goodell has it his way, our entire country would be forced to run on solar panels and wind power. Goodell never mentions that in his utopian fantasy, American consumers would have to shell out billions of dollars more in higher electricity prices each year. Either that, or the lights just won’t turn on when we flip the switch.

Of course, if Goodell had been forthright about the policies he is pushing, our guess is he would find very few Americans willing to obliterate their purchasing power to support his agenda.

So is the solar revolution finally here? Not quite. Even after a decade of rampant growth solar energy still barely moves the needle in the U.S. energy mix. In fact, solar merely equals the amount of electricity that the nation generates by burning natural gas captured from landfills. And it’s only slightly more meaningful than the 7.3 million Mwh we get from burning human waste strained out of municipal sewer systems.

Indeed, when you factor in all the sources of energy consumed in this country, captured solar power amounts to well less than 1 quadrillion Btu out of an annual total of 96.5 quadrillion. –Christopher Helman,