Barbara Freese

Special guest

Barbara Freese is the author of Coal: A Human History, selected as a New York Times Notable Book and recently released in an updated edition. This critically-acclaimed book tells the story of how coal has transformed the world over the centuries, describes the drama swirling around coal use today, and explains why coal represents such a profound threat to the global climate.

Freese is also an environmental attorney, policy analyst and speaker who has for several years been deeply involved in energy and climate issues, with a particular focus on coal. She has fought to block the construction of new coal plants and to enact climate protection laws at the state and federal level, and she co-authored multiple reports on coal use when she was a senior policy advocate on the staff of the Union of Concerned Scientists. She has also taught about fossil fuels and climate, including as a policymaker in residence at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. In the mid-1990s, when she was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Minnesota, Freese litigated the science of climate change against the coal industry, confronting first-hand the science denial that would later become so prominent in the U.S.

She has a J.D. from NYU School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Minnesota. She is currently writing a new book about how various industries have responded to evidence that their product causes harm.

Barbara Freese has been a guest on 1 episode.