The Sierra Club has released a new study in an attempt to raise awareness of the full environmental impact of coal from mining to burning.
According to the study, ‘The Dirty Truth About Coal’, half of America’s electricity comes from coal, which uses 260 million gallons of water each day; produces 120 million tons of solid waste per year, and is the cause of 80 percent of the carbon dioxide pollution from electricity production in the USA.
The energy industry has recently been promoting ‘green coal’. They claim that the carbon dioxide emissions of coal can be reduced to an acceptable level using carbon capture and sequestration. However, without proper storage, it is completely useless to capture carbon dioxide. Alice McKeown’s study is trying to remind people that coal is still dirty no matter what you do to it. It will still pollute and current methods of carbon capture and storage are still in the early stages and more expensive than conventional coal fired plants.
The Sierra Club has been actively trying to block new coal plants from being built in the U.S.A. and has succeeded in some cases, and in others at least delayed them. Many nations around the world have a large coal supply and it is an easy and viable means of producing energy. However, with the onset of global warming, coming up with alternative solutions and renewable energies should be prioritized over the building of new coal burning power stations.