Why we still use fossil fuels

Steam rises from a pile of coal at a mine in Bishop, West Virginia, U.S., May 19, 2018.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

We know that humanity’s use of fossil fuels is damaging the planet’s climate, yet coal, oil, and natural gas generate most of the electricity we use to power our lives. We know how to use alternative sources of energy that generate less carbon—such as water, wind, and nuclear—yet replacing fossil fuels with other sources has proven difficult. Why? That’s the central question asked by the guest on this episode in her new Foreign Policy essay, “Why are fossil fuels so hard to quit?Samantha Gross is a fellow in Foreign Policy at Brookings and director of the Energy Security and Climate Initiative. Her essay is a rich exploration of the history, science, and politics of fossil fuels and offers a way toward cleaner energy.

Also on this episode, Alan Berube, senior fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program, introduces the new Metro Recovery Index that tracks the impact of COVID-19 on and progress on recovery for the economies of the 200 largest metro areas in the United States.

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