I love being a staff writer for 3BL Media/Justmeans on topics - Social Innovation, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs. When I am not writing for 3BL Media/Justmeans, I wear my other hat as owner of Serendipity PR. Over the years I have worked with high-profile, big, powerful brands and organisations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from my industry....
The Beyond Coal Campaign
Contrary to what the coal industry tells us, there is no such thing as clean coal. The burning of coal is the most polluting method for producing electricity and the environmental impacts are considerable. Coal plants are America's top source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the primary cause of global warming. It already accounts for 20% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, making it one of the biggest causes of man-made climate change.
The Sierra Club is helping to tackle this issue in America by creating the "Beyond Coal" campaign, which strives to move the U.S. away from coal-powered energy and toward renewables, such as solar and wind. So far, the Beyond Coal campaign has stopped over 150 proposed coal-fired power plants.
Besides the production of greenhouse gases created by burning coal, there are also many other harmful compounds released during this process; the environmental problems are not limited to the burning process. The extraction, transportation, storage and disposal of coalall create additional environmental issues. Burning coal is also a leading cause of smog, acid rain, and toxic air pollution. Some emissions can be significantly reduced with readily available pollution controls, but most U.S. coal plants have not installed these technologies.
Last year, the Sierra Club helped shut down two of Chicago's dirtiest coal power plants. Working with citizens living around the plants, the Club formed a powerful coalition to close these sites that were causing asthma and other health problems. The Sierra Club believes it is now time to help to move Illinois beyond coal and adopt more renewable energy sources. This state is already heading in the right direction, as 20,000 jobs in the wind and solar power energy sector have been created in the last few years.
According to reports issued by the World Health Organisation in 2008, coal pollution is estimated to shorten approximately 1,000,000 lives annually worldwide, including nearly 24,000 lives a year in States. Today, China is burning almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined; despite impressive support from Beijing for renewable energy and an understanding about the dangers of air pollution, coal use in China is set to continue rising. India, the other big coal market, has more than 450 proposed coal plants, as it has a desperate need to increase electricity generation. The International Energy Agency recently predicted that India will overtake the U.S. as the second biggest user of coal after China by 2025. Coal has been called the enemy of the human race: the reason why it is so popular is because it is very cheap, yet the actual cost is very high, for the planet and life.
Photo Credit: Sierra Club Website, Beyond Coal Campaign