Kelly Rigg: Coal kills, so it’s time to kill coal

• March 7, 2013
Kelly Rigg, Executive Director of

Courtesy: Kelly Rigg

A report published today by Europe’s Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a powerful wake-up call about the dangers of coal-fired power. The Unpaid Health Bill: How Coal Power Plants Make Us Sick claims to provide the “first ever economic assessment of the health costs associated with air pollution from coal power plants in Europe,” and mirrors the findings of a comparable 2010 report about the US published by the Clean Air Task Force. The simple take-home message of these reports? Coal kills, and is costing us an arm and a leg (or perhaps more to the point, a heart and a lung).

The EU study summarizes its main findings with a dizzying string of facts and figures:

“Emissions from coal power plants in Europe contribute significantly to the burden of disease from environmental pollution. The brand-new figures published in this report show that European Union-wide impacts amount to more than 18,200 premature deaths, about 8,500 new cases of chronic bronchitis, and over 4 million lost working days each year. The economic costs of the health impacts from coal combustion in Europe are estimated at up to €42.8 billion per year. Adding emissions from coal power plants in Croatia, Serbia and Turkey, the figures for mortality increase to 23,300 premature deaths, or 250,600 life years lost, while the total costs are up to €54.7 billion annually.”

I can only imagine what these statistics would look like if they incorporated the additional impacts from coal mining, or from coal’s contribution to climate change. The 2012 Climate Vulnerability Monitor provides some hints on that score.

Read more: Huffington Post >>

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TckTckTck is the online hub for the Global Call for Climate Action. The GCCA represents an unprecedented alliance of more than 400 nonprofit organizations from around the world. Our shared mission is to mobilize civil society and galvanize public support to ensure a safe climate future for people and nature, to promote the low-carbon transition of our economies, and to accelerate the adaptation efforts in communities already affected by climate change.

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