Clean Air Blog 2.17.2012

This week’s Clean Air Blog will connect a few news stories I found most interesting and/or relevant to renewable energy and coal as reasons to quit using coal as a source for electricity.  

The first article talks about Europe’s renewable energy sector, specifically, it discusses the success they’ve had employing people through this emerging market. Lacey’s article explains that at least, “1.1 million people have jobs in Europe’s renewable energy sector…” and this number is actually higher, given the major increases Europe made during 2011. Not including jobs in mass transportation, recycling, or green building design, documented jobs from renewable energy throughout Europe are at 1,144,000!

It’s frustrating that a main argument to continue using coal is that coal extraction, and energy production from coal, creates jobs.  This thought process is so frustrating because investments in renewable energy sources will also create jobs, yet renewables will eventually be cheaper, and are cleaner effective immediately!  Not to mention the dangers associated with coal mining that should also act as another reason to quit coal.

Another article I’ve decided to share does mention death as a reason to quit coal.  The article talks about the fifteen coal miners who were killed in China yesterday when their cart derailed.  Deaths and injuries are not uncommon in coal mines, given they averaged six deaths a day in China during 2010.

I guess my question would be, does humanity actually value cheap, dirty electricity more than human lives, a healthy living environment, and progress?  I don’t believe we do; instead, I believe that those with sufficient power to affect change care more about benefiting financially from fossil fuels than anything else.  I’m hoping my assumption of this is incorrect because not everything happening in the world today is destructive.

The third article I’ve decided to blog about pertains to an announcement by ToughStuff saying, “it will provide some 33 million Africans access to rugged, cheap and affordable solar power systems.”  By providing these solar PV panels, “substantial health and environmental threats are averted.”   These actions are backed by the United Nations’ “Business Call to Action” development program; so, here is a powerful entity, using that power to help some impoverished nations with clean energy, but enough is not being done to get wealthy nations off fossil fuels!


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