Coal is not cool and here’s ten reasons why

 

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  1. Coal is climate change and climate change is catastrophe. Japan would be one of the world’s most affected countries by sea-level rise, with 7.5 million people – 30 percent of Tokyo’s population – affected by the sea level rise under the 4 C scenario. A rise by 2 C would leave 4.2 million people’s homes underwater.
  2. There are viable alternatives to coal. Renewable energy drives energy sector transformation and brings down consumer bills. In fact, in 2015, Japan was the third largest solar installation market globally. Smart governments embrace the Rising Sun, and dump dirty coal.
  3. Solar is now cheaper than coal according to the Indian Energy Minister. And he should know, given that India is the 4th largest energy user on the planet.
  4. Clean coal has a dirty secret. Even new High Efficiency Low Emissions (HELE) coal is incompatible with limiting temperature rises to 2C (a rise no longer considered ‘safe’).
  5. Air pollution from coal currently causes an estimated 800,000 premature deaths annually, and planned coal plants would increase such deaths by 130,000 people per year.

  6. The future outlook for the coal market is bleak, according to financial experts such as Goldman Sachs who said the decline of coal is irreversible.
  7. Coal is a bad financial bet. Sumitomo bought half of an Australian coal mine in for $430 million in 2011, then sold it for $1 in 2015. Whoops.

  1. Coal is the most polluting fossil fuel. Even the most advanced coal plant produces around 30 times more CO2 than wind and hydro, twenty times more than solar and geothermal, and 50% more than natural gas. Estimates of the costs of ignoring climate change exceed the costs of addressing climate change by trillions of dollars by 2100, globally.

  1. Coal Pollutes Seafood and Freshwater Fish: 49 U.S. states have issued fish consumption advisories due to high mercury concentrations in freshwater bodies throughout the country. Coal-fired power plants are a major source of human-generated mercury pollution. Mercury in mothers’ blood and breast milk can interfere with the development of babies’ brains and neurological systems and can lead to learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, problems with coordination, lowered IQ and even mental retardation. Coal-fired power plant emissions also contain many other toxic elements and compounds, including sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrous oxides (NOx), particulate matter, hydrogen chloride (HCl), hydrogen fluoride (HF), arsenic, and heavy metals like chromium and cadmium.

  1. Japan imports all of its coal from abroad, spending billions every year and posing a major risk to energy security. Renewable energy mean investment in jobs and industry at home.