Resources

The Power of Negawatts: Energy Efficiency

Reducing the impact of our use of energy is one of the key technical, political, and even moral challenges facing human society in this century. While our sources of energy have to be made cleaner, our first priority must be to use energy more efficiently. Efficiency measures are cheaper, cleaner and faster to install than any other energy option. And we lose nothing in the bargain – the point of efficiency is to allow us the same levels of productivity or comfort, but with less power.

Coal’s Assault on Human Health

This report from Physicians for Social Responsibility outlines the human health impacts of coal, with a focus on the United States. Each step of the coal lifestyle - mining, transportation, washing, combustion and disposing of post combustion waste - impacts human health. Coal pollutants affect all major body organ systems and contribute to four of the five leading causes of mortality in the United States.

Waste Deep: filling mines with coal ash is profit for industry but poison for people

This report from EarthJustice argues for federal regulations on coal combustion waste disposal, in particular safeguards that ensure companies reveal the toxicity of the waste they are dumping, identify sources of ground and surface water that are susceptible to contamination from the dumping and prohibit the dumping of waste directly into ground water. Federal regulations must also require long-term, comprehensive monitoring for pollution from the dumping and ensure that mine owners are financially responsible for the clean up.

The True Cost of Coal: how people and the planet are paying the price for the world’s dirtiest fuel

This report from Greenpeace outlines the external social and environmental costs of coal. The fact is that coal is the most polluting energy source around, and the dominant source of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Coal may be the cheapest fossil fuel on the market, but its market price is only half the story. The financial price includes a range of factors, from mining and retailing costs to government taxes and, of course, profit, but it ignores some of the biggest taxes, and costs of coal: the tremendous human and environmental damage it causes.