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Blue The Nation | August 22, 2014

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In Shocking News, Coal-Burning is Bad For You

In Shocking News, Coal-Burning is Bad For You
Jonathan Nathan

I know this will blow everybody’s minds, but it turns out that burning coal to generate energy is really bad for human beings’ health, according to new research coming out of China. As you all try to pick your jaws up off the floor, I’ll explain this stunning, tragic news.

According to research published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, life expectancy in northern China was more than five years shorter than in southern China in the 1990s. That disparity has persisted all the way through the 2000s right up to the present, and it’s almost entirely due to heart and lung disease linked to the use of coal. Specifically, coal power has caused air pollution which can be directly blamed for these lethal diseases. According to National Geographic, the research “provides the most precise measure yet of the health impact of smoke from combustion.”

The researchers put together the most exhaustive data set every created in the developing world in order to produce a document which could be used by lawmakers trying to gauge the pros and cons of various energy plans. What may come as a genuine surprise to many readers is that while renewable alternative energy sources get all the press, coal is on pace to become the world’s top energy source. Nearly three billion people rely on it for basic energy necessities.

This research should serve as just one more powerful argument against the continued use of dangerous energy sources. Not only do coal and oil savage the environment, they destroy the lives of human beings. With Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gearing up for a 2014 election, coal is sure to be a major factor in the campaigning, given that McConnell is from Kentucky, the heart of coal country. He’ll be claiming that his Democratic challenger is part of Obama’s so-called “war on coal,” and he’ll claim that as a result, a vote for a Democrat is a vote against jobs. But his challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, can come back the other way. A vote for Mitch McConnell is a vote for one of the deadliest killers in America.