A new video from the Sierra Club makes the connection between coal, public health, and greenhouse gas emissions. Coal 101 points out that the United States still gets 40 percent of its electricity from coal, and new data from the Energy Information Administration shows that natural gas is not replacing coal as many assume. In fact, coal is reclaiming its market share.
What does this mean? As the U.S. burns more coal, carbon dioxide emissions will rise. This has serious impacts both globally and locally. Burning coal also harms human health from air and water pollution, mercury poisoning, and toxic waste in the form of coal ash. Rural communities have to deal with mountaintop removal mining — i.e. blowing up a mountain to get at what’s inside, and leaving slag behind.
There are signs of hope — the amount of electricity from renewable energy has doubled over the last few years, with Iowa and South Dakota getting more than 20 percent of their energy from wind for example.
The video explains more: