It is going to hurt to create a more sustainable, more politically stable energy system. I don't like it. I wish it wasn't the case, but the longer we ignore it, the more unpleasant the transition is going to be. Better to just get it over with. I'm not really all that environmentally conscious, but having as our lifeblood petroleum, a non-renewable resource that is primarily produced by people who do not like us is just a bad idea on so many levels.
Coal is okay in moderation as long as we don't come to rely on it like we do petroleum and fail to work toward something cleaner and more sustainable. I'm not talking global warming, I'm talking aesthetics, assuming coal is as dirty burning as I perceive it to be and that it takes a lot of work to make it clean, it's really not the best solution.
Our goal, IMO, should be providing sustainable, reasonably priced energy for ourselves in a reasonably clean way. I think we can do it, but we are really going to have to be motivated because we've been very comfortable with things as they are/were.