Coal will kill 13,200 people in the US this year

The toll from coal

To a new report from the Clean Air Task Force coal will kill an estimated 13,200 people this year in America. It will also cause 9,700 hospitalizations and some 20,000 heart attacks. All this will cost $100 billions in additional health care bills.

These are staggering figures that clearly show that even without carbon dioxide and climate change, coal is killing 36 people per day in America alone. I wonder to what it amounts on a global scale.

” Coal pollution is US’ single-deadliest form of industrial air pollution. ” I am more and more proud that France chose nuclear.

Indeed if France had sticked to coal we may get 2,640 deaths from coal, slightly less than the amounts of people killed on the roads (around 4,000).

Nuclear is not perfect, but at least it doesn’t kill people every single hour. Nor does it contributes massively to climate change, a phenomenon that may kill millions this century.

As the report notes :

Among all industrial sources of air pollution, none poses greater risks to human health and the environment than coal-fired power plants. Emissions from coalfired power plants contribute to global warming, ozone smog, acid rain, regional haze, and–perhaps most consequential of all from a public health standpoint – fine particle pollution.

Not all hope is gone. As I previously noted America could slash by 62 percent by 2020 its coal consumption. It aslo could be completely coal-free by 2030.

I hope it will be done, for the sake of Americans and our survival on Planet Earth.

For more please check out The Toll From Coal [PDF, 3.13 Mb]

On the other side of the Atlantic, another report found similar results. To the Business of Green blog :

Health advocates said Monday that adopting more ambitious targets for cutting greenhouse gases could save health programs up to 30.5 billion euros ($38.7 billion) in expenditures each year in the European Union.

The study found that as greenhouse gases fall, so do other pollutants that set off respiratory diseases and other illnesses, which reduce in health care costs.

Savings could also be achieved on health care costs associated with heat waves, floods, reduced food production and infectious diseases, the study said.

For more on this report, please refer to Acting Now for Better Health: A 30% Reduction Target for EU Climate Policy (pdf)

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