Showtime Documentary Series Features the Climate-Coal Connection

Mary Anne Hitt (Beyond Coal Campaign) and Ian Somerhalder (IS Foundation) at Duke Energy Asheville coal plant
Mary Anne Hitt (Beyond Coal Campaign) and Ian Somerhalder (IS Foundation) at Duke Energy Asheville coal plant

By Dayna Reggero

Years of Living Dangerously, a documentary series premiering next month on Showtime, provides a compelling introduction to the people and places affected by climate change.

Sharing these stories is a roster of major film, television and news figures, including Jessica Alba, Mark Bittman, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon and many more. Actor Ian Somerhalder (Lost, Vampire Diaries) visits Asheville, N.C. and interviews Mary Anne Hitt, Beyond Coal campaign director, and Anna Jane Joyner, Western North Carolina Alliance activist, during the episode, “Preacher’s Daughter.”

Filming locations include Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant, the Asheville Beyond Coal rally, and Charlotte, NC.

“Duke Energy’s Asheville coal plant is the largest source of climate-disrupting pollution in western North Carolina,” says Hitt. “Duke Energy must commit to phase out the Asheville coal plant and replace it with home-grown clean energy solutions.”

North Carolina power producers spent $1.8 billion out of state to import coal in 2012 alone, based on a 2014 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists. North Carolina is second in the country in terms of dependence on imported coal.

“All over the country, and now world, communities are successfully stopping and retiring coal plants, moving to clean, renewable energy sources, and decreasing water, air and carbon pollution at record rates,” says Joyner.

Kelly Martin, Sierra Club’s North Carolina senior campaign representative, recently stated: “On behalf of thousands of Asheville and Buncombe County residents, I applaud Duke Energy for publicly considering a plan to phase out the coal-burning units at its Asheville plant. If Duke Energy meets the demands of the community and phases out its coal plant, the Asheville plant will be the 163rd plant in the nation to be retired since 2010.”

North Carolina is taking strides toward a clean energy future, boasting the second largest solar growth in the nation. In 2013, the city of Asheville responded to community concerns by unanimously passing a clean energy resolution. Additionally, clean energy job opportunities are growing. According to the 2013 North Carolina Clean Energy Industries Census, 18,404 full-time equivalent employees were employed by the clean energy industry in North Carolina in 2013, up more than 20 percent from 2012.

Years of Living Dangerously premieres April 13th on Showtime

Image credit: The Years Project / John W. Adkisson

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One response

  1. In the episode with Pastor Joyner, it was the pastor who behaved more like Feynman’s ideal scientist and not the producers of this documentary.

    Read my critique posted here

    In another episode they basely exploited human tragedy from fires, and it was based on one study that runs contrary to most of what fire ecologists know. I have worked to promote wise environmental stewardship in the Sierra Nevada and nearly lost our
    university research station to a human set forest fire. To study the regions ecology we must be very aware of the true nature of forest fires and this documentary is misleading. I posted my essay on the deceptive presentation on WUWT

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