A couple of months ago I wrote about the true cost of coal – how a study had found that when the real cost to the USA’s economy through the human health and environmental damage the fossil fuel has been calculated it comes out to between an incredible third to over half a trillion dollars annually.
Those are huge figures, but so too is the number of tons of coal that are burned every day; even just for electricity generation.
Given how big the numbers are, they are hard to fathom. So let’s break it down a bit more – how much coal has been burned while you’ve been reading this article so far? This much:
|Powered By Energy Matters
Home Solar Power – Australia
This counter was supplied by Energy Matters, a solar power company in Australia who I consult for. Coal regularly pops up in our conversations, usually in relation to our frustration that the renewable energy revolution is being held back by society’s addiction to coal, solar power myths and misinformation and the huge amounts of government money going to fossil fuels; which would be better invested in renewable energy.
We knew that the world burned a lot of coal, but even we were shocked to discover how much thermal coal (the type mainly used for electricity generation) is being consumed.
Take a look at the counter again – see how far it’s climbed just while you read the last couple of paragraphs. Frightening stuff!
Bear in mind the issues with coal aren’t confined to carbon emissions – there’s the environmental degradation through mining, mercury emissions; heck, even the ash left behind is toxic. “Clean coal“, newgen coal, or whatever name it’s going by today, won’t solve these other issues; only make them worse.
If you would like to learn more about how the numbers are generated or perhaps put the counter on your own web site or blog (if you have one) to help raise awareness of just how sever e our coal addiction still is; visit Energy Matters’ carbon and coal counter page for further details. The counter is free and a couple of different sizes are available.