Here’s a short, plainspoken video from the Sierra Club that explains why coal sucks:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wv2GKaukZU&w=490&h=276%5D

(Kind of leaves out the role of natural gas in displacing coal, but let’s not get picky.)

It was one thing when there were no viable alternatives to coal — you could make the brute utilitarian argument that all the lost lives, suffering, and ecological destruction were worth it for the benefits of electrification. But now there are alternatives. That means the suffering imposed by coal is a choice. And it’s the wrong choice. Phasing out coal entirely is one of the great humanitarian projects of the 21st century.