Must-See Video Shows Impact Of Coal As Its Use In U.S. Power Sector Rebounds

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:

21 Responses to Must-See Video Shows Impact Of Coal As Its Use In U.S. Power Sector Rebounds

  1. Superman1 says:

    Ryan, enough of the ‘signs of hope’. There is no respite from the heavy use of fossil fuel, especially coal. From every credible governmental, intergovernmental, and industry projection of fossil fuel use I have seen, there will be no respite. The growth in renewables is a shell game; it is the non-existent reduction in fossil use that counts.

  2. Superman1 says:

    The long-term trend in global temperature increase has been about 0.16 C per decade, according to a recent post on this site. Given that we have recently been accelerating the CO2ppm in the atmosphere, that means in about a decade (or less) we will reach 1 C. According to Kevin Anderson, this is where many climate experts believe we will enter the ‘danger zone’.

  3. Superman1 says:

    How can we possibly avoid this in a decade? Adding renewables will do zero to avoid this target! The only hope would be a WWII-level effort to institute draconian cuts in fossil fuel use in parallel with rapid carbon recovery and possibly some low-risk geo-engineering (if such exists).

  4. Superman1 says:

    Given that every country that has the fossil resources wants to exploit them to the maximum, and the major countries are pursuing ‘all-of-the-above’ strategies, it is crystal-clear that we have neither the national or global will to do what is required, and our collective actions could not be further apart from the requirements to avoid the climate cliff. Your ‘signs of hope’ are complete fantasy!

  5. Ed Leaver says:

    Meanwhile, China shows signs of hope.

  6. SecularAnimist says:

    Looks like the defeatist whiner has this thread to himself.

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    A defeatist, pessimistic, people-blaming, Bosses-exonerating troll is a brilliant innovation, though, isn’t it? They are so creative. I pass on now, not even morbidly interested any more.

  8. Superman1 says:

    Ed, all the credible energy consumption forecasts I’ve seen look like this one ( The others are pure fantasy!

  9. Superman1 says:

    Ed, see Figure 2.3 for the global outlook from the IEA ( Eyeballing, the increase in 2035 of fossil compared to 2010 appears to be around 20%.

  10. Superman1 says:

    Given Anderson’s requirement that to stay within 2 C we need to reduce global CO2 emissions by 10% per year for decades, the above projections could not be more disparate from what we need.

  11. Superman1 says:

    See my decimation of Secular’s misleading comments at the end of the recent Chu-Moniz article’s comments. Hmmm, ‘Secular’s misleading comments’; a redundant expression if ever there was one.

  12. catman306 says:

    Did any world leader pay much attention to Thomas Mathus 200 years ago? Probably not, and that’s for the same reason that world leaders have not been listening to our message for the past 30 or 50 years. They won’t be listening until the day of the collapse.

    They are not leaders at all. They are either followers of popular opinion or followers of the quest for wealth. Shame on us for allowing this.

  13. catman306 says:

    Excellent video. More like it, please.

  14. AlexR says:

    It is interesting that the Sierra Club (or at least one of it’s reps) were crowing about the death of King Coal mere months ago. It goes to show how tenuous things can be without a revenue-neutral fee on carbon. I haven’t entirely given up hope, though, that society will have such an awakening that we can make real progress in transitioning our energy systems, and that further obfuscation and delay will become politically hazardous.

  15. Superman1 says:

    Once again, all invective and no fact!

  16. Superman1 says:

    “I haven’t entirely given up hope”. ‘Hope’ is wonderful, and can be a powerful motivator, but there has to be some basis for hope. What are the tangible signs, at any level of detail, that give you ‘hope’?

  17. rollin says:

    Much like a bad neighbor, it only takes one incessant troll to ruin the neighborhood.

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    It’s a clever tactic. Do you think there’s just one of him, or a tag-team?

  19. Calamity Jean says:

    The style of his defeatist rants is so similar from comment to comment that I think it’s all one person.

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Then he is possessed of prodigious energy. Perhaps we could harness it, somehow, to drive a turbine.

  21. AlexR says:

    A bit late with this, but I derive some hope from the admittedly few times in human history that the masses have been sufficiently enlightened to achieve big change. Not much, I know, but sometimes hope is a tiny seed that you have to grasp onto. Without it, you risk giving up prematurely.