Infographic: Should you coal-power your life?

More reasons to avoid coal, courtesy of David Malki ! of Wondermark: Made of carbon Finger cancer Costs literally millions of dollars Absurd "pimptastic" modifications Impossible


National coal expert: ‘Mining is a loser’ in practically every way

Anytime coal’s cost to America is discussed, the coal industry reflexively talks about what an economic lifeline it is for the states in which it operates. Headwaters Economics, a Bozeman-based think tank focusing on natural resource issues, has a solid new study that’s getting national attention for undercutting those claims. For instance, the Headwaters study finds that “fossil fuel production has not insulated energy-producing states from fiscal crisis,” that “fossil fuel extraction has a limited influence at the state level on economic indicators such as GDP by state, personal income, and employment,” and that “the volatility of fossil fuel markets …

Business & Technology

Dirty clouds: Greenpeace ranks tech giants on their data centers’ coal dependency

Tech companies have something hanging over their heads.Photo: The SharpteamAs I sit here at the Local 123 café in Berkeley on Earth Day, a dozen hipsters are transfixed by their Macbooks, their heads lost in the cloud. According to a Greenpeace report [PDF] released this week, all those presumably green and well-meaning digital workers-slash-slackers are contributing to global warming every time they update their Facebook status, scan their Twitter stream or check their Gmail. That’s because all those apps live in massive data centers — a.k.a. “the cloud.” In the “How Dirty is Your Data?” report, Greenpeace analysts estimate data …


AEI blogger celebrates the success of the acid rain program, without acknowledging its existence

Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. For Earth Day, Steve Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute posted this shocker: “Energy Fact of the Week: Sulfur Dioxide Emissions from Coal Have Declined 54 Percent.” He includes some nice government charts, which I’m sure he won’t mind my reproducing below. But from Hayward’s blog, you’d think this happened by itself! The chief causes of this decline are technology — cost-effective “scrubbers” to remove sulfur dioxide from the waste stream — and resource substitution: We started using much more low-sulfur coal from the western United States. No mention of the Clean Air Act’s …


Will Richard Daley, Chicago’s outgoing ‘green’ mayor, help quash coal pollution?

Will Richard Daley’s last month in office be marred by two old coal plants?Photo: Kate GardinerCross-posted from Midwest Energy News. A long-stalled Chicago ordinance that could force the city’s two aging coal-burning power plants to greatly reduce emissions or shut down now has enough backing to pass at the city council’s next meeting. But proponents aren’t declaring victory yet. The ordinance must first pass a joint committee hearing Thursday. And if the full city council does vote it into law when it meets May 4, it would likely face a legal challenge which even its most important council backer says …

Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuel industries kill and injure an awful lot of their workers

Oil production and oil refining has killed 77 workers and injured over 7,000 in the last 40 years.Cross-posted from the Center for American Progress. This post was coauthored by Valeri Vasquez, special assistant for energy policy at the Center for American Progress. On the one-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and the Massey coal mine explosion in West Virginia, we are reminded how dangerous our dependence on fossil fuels can be. A large cost of our reliance on these energy sources is the death or injury of workers in these industries. Transitioning to cleaner energy technologies such …


The real cost of coal: even higher than we think

Every now and then I see studies that try to estimate the real cost of fossil fuels, what we don’t pay up front. Normally they contain numbers that seem unbelievably low to me, like this one from the National Academy of Sciences that was reported on Grist. We blow the tops off mountains, kill miners quickly in accidents and slowly through black lung, pollute massive amounts of water, pollute the air, put mercury into the ecosystem, and on and on. All that only costs $62 billion a year? That’s a lot of money, but for the damage we’re seeing, it still seems …

Half-naked college students protest coal

Oh, college students.They'll use just about anything as an excuse to take off their clothes. We'll give them this one, though, because this bunch of barely-legals is stripping down for a good cause: Raising awareness about the harm coal mining — and coal-powered universities — can do to the environment. The anti-coal undies were designed by organic-clothing designer PACT, and 10 percent of the proceeds goes to helping the Sierra Club find coal-free solutions. The boys and girls gone wild were provided by the Sierra Club Student Coalition. Hey, it works for PETA.

Solar Power

Australia announces big solar project — at a coal plant

The Kogan Creek Power Station.Photo: Kogan Solar BoostAustralian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday appeared at giant coal-fired power plant to announce that the Southern Hemisphere’s largest solar project would be built in Queensland. Why, you may be wondering, would the PM travel to a remote 750-megawatt coal power station to make a big renewable energy news pronouncement? Well, coal is king in Australia, and the 44-megawatt solar thermal project to be built by Areva Solar at the Kogan Creek Power Station will generate additional steam to drive the coal plant’s turbines. “By using energy from the sun with Areva’s …

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