On the importance of stopping coal…

Written by Matt Leonard

Topics: Coal

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So, we talk a lot about how important stopping the coal rush is to the climate (and of course the ecosystems and communities ravaged by the entire lifecycle of coal – from mining to burning). And it’s not just us talking about the importance of coal. There’s a post nearly every other day about the problems of coal from our friends at Grist, Al Gore is calling for direct action against coal, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even just said “There’s not a coal-fired plant in America that’s clean. They’re all dirty,”

But some new advertisements are about to pop in next week’s New Yorker, courtesy of the visionary organization Architecture 2030. They have some great comparisons to make on how so many other efforts to curb climate change are dwarfed by the problems of coal. While I’m a firm believer that we need all sorts of people taking all sorts of tactics on all sorts of issues – it’s vital that come together and make sure we keep coal where it belongs – in the ground.


One other neat factoid I put together:

These ~150 proposed coal plants will emit about 600 million tons of C02 every year. That’s about the same C02 emissions as adding 108 million new cars to our roads. That’s about the same as nearly doubling the number of cars on our roads!

That doesn’t even count the 619 existing coal-fired power plants that we should start decomissioning if we are serious about curbing climate change.

5 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. jake says:

    I am sure I understand the message you handing out. Are you trying to educate consumer responsibility by congradulating corporations and government agencies for their step-up efforts to reduce cataclysmic climate change? From my point of view the movement against coal interwoven to anti-captialism and anti-oppression. It doesnt matter what Wal-Mart or Home Depot or even California their structure nurtures colonialism and authoritarian power.

  2. Nick says:

    I urge everyone who reads this post to call their Senators and their Representative in Congress, and ask them to support a moratorium on new coal plants, without delay. That is what I am going to do.

  3. Japhet says:

    Just called mine…although mine tend to be super against coal and anything that may increase the threat of global warming. Whats continually disturbing about this debate around coal is the lack of discussion highlighting the dangers of extraction (yet another mine catastrophe last month and people are still saying mining is safe?) not to mention the environmental destruction blowing up mountains and plowing under riverbeds does to communities and families. Its more than just air pollution.

  4. Jeremy says:

    If a person is really concerned about the families and communities in these areas that are “ravaged” by coal mining, the he/she would definitely have thought through the consequences an abrupt hault would have on the economy and welfare of people in these communities. Are you going to pay these people’s mortage? Will you provide food for their families? Where will money for their medical bills come from? I’m sure all of these issues have been addressed and a plan that calls for job transgression to a cleaner, safer way of providing energy has been awaiting implementation.

    I agree that extracting coal probably isn’t the cleanest way to provide energy for our country. But until a way to produce energy is found that: 1) provides stable jobs for miners who have lost their source of income. 2) is more economically feasible on the country as a whole. 3) and is actually cleaner & safer, our nation’s leaders must stay the course and continue searching for answers to a more viable solution.

    Radical changes in the way our country provides its electricity is not the answer. Our nation can’t be forced into an ultimatum on an issue that effects so many apsects of so many people’s lives.

  5. N. Nerode says:

    Sorry. We have to take the ultimatum now.

    We’ve already passed the first “tipping point”, the one which leads to mass extinctions and major sea level rise. We have to push back very very very fast; at this point every CO2 molecule emitted is another fraction of sea level rise, and every such fraction has *huge*, disastrous cost.

    We can’t afford to pass the second one, which could lead to the extinction of the human race.



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