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Coal Vs. Clean Energy Show: Read more

Imagine a warmer world with fewer snowmen or a child being unable to play outside.

Scientists agree: the average global temperature is rising, climate patterns are changing, and carbon pollution from coal-fired plants is a major contributor. In addition to disrupting the climate, resulting in new extreme weather patterns, coal pollution creates toxic air pollution and smog. In the United States, more than 40 percent of people live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution. Smog exacerbates conditions like bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma—sometimes fatally. Children are at the greatest health risk from air pollution because they are more likely to be active outdoors and their lungs are still developing. Asthma strikes nearly 1 out of every 10 school children in the United States and is the number-one health issue that causes kids to miss school. Let’s prevent our children from being forced to stay indoors to avoid aggravating their pollution-caused conditions and protect their rights to play outdoors and build snowmen.

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Coal smog can cause chest pain, coughing, and breathing difficulties. It can aggravate conditions like bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. Sound like something else we know? 

Doctors, nurses, and scientists around the world agree on one simple fact: Coal makes us sick. Pollution from burning coal causes serious health effects and contributes to four of the five leading causes of death in the United States: cancer, stroke, heart disease, and upper respiratory disease. According to a recent study, coal pollution is responsible for more than 13,000 premature deaths, more than 20,000 heart attacks every year, and more than $100 billion in annual health costs every year.

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Over one billion tons of coal are mined every year in the United States, second only to China. Think of all the mountaintops that have met their demise!

In Appalachia, mining companies blow the tops off mountains to reach thin seams of coal. They then dump millions of tons of rubble and toxic waste into the streams and valleys below the mining sites. This destructive practice, known as mountaintop-removal mining, has damaged or destroyed nearly 2,000 miles of streams and threatens to destroy 1.4 million acres of mountaintops and forests by 2020. The mining poisons drinking water; destroys beautiful, biodiverse forests and wildlife habitat; increases the risk of flooding; and wipes out entire communities.

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The average coal consumption per capita in the United States is nearly four tons a year. That’s a lot of coal ash falling on our heads.

Every year, the nation's coal plants produce 140 million tons of coal ash pollution, the toxic by-product of coal burning. All that ash has to go somewhere, so it's dumped into open-air pits and precarious surface waste ponds. The public health hazards and environmental threats to nearby communities include an increased risk of cancer, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, birth defects, reproductive failure, asthma, and other illnesses.

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More and more coal plants are announcing their retirements and working on transitions to clean energy sources for electricity. Renewable energy, like wind and solar, are not just ideas for the future--they’re happening now!

Coal is responsible for nearly one-third of US carbon emissions-- the air pollution that is the main contributor to climate disruption. Climate disruption has already had an impact on our country, resulting in extreme weather like massive hurricanes, intense storms, devastating droughts, deadly wildfires, and record-breaking heat waves. Additionally, soot pollution—a by-product from burning fossil fuels that results in small particles in the air composed of a mixture of metals, chemicals, and acid droplets—is one of the deadliest and most dangerous air pollutants.Exposure to soot pollution is extremely dangerous and is linked to premature death, heart attacks, lung damage, and a variety of other significant health problems.

 

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Coal supplies are being rapidly used up. The sun, on the other hand, will be around to power our planet for another 3-4 billion years! Shouldn’t we invest in a cleaner, longer-lasting energy source before the lights go out?

Solar energy is the cleanest, most abundant renewable energy source available. It’s one of the fastest growing sectors in the American economy, with more than 5,600 solar companies employing people in every state. Along with generating seven times as many jobs as dirty fuel sources, like coal, solar power is also a more affordable option. For example, in 2011, San Antonio, Texas, discovered that solar had become so cost-effective that the city opted to scrap plans for a new coal-fired power plant and install a large-scale solar facility instead. States like California, Nevada, New Jersey, and Colorado already understand the vast potential of solar power and are leading the way in domestic solar installations.

 

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