Tag Archives | Coal

Solar Power Towers Are Vaporizing Birds

bird-deaths-by-power-source

Bird Deaths By Power Source | U.S. News & World Report

 

Solar power may be deadly to birds, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the damage that coal power does.

Sarah Fecht writes at Popular Science:

But they aren’t the deadliest energy source for our feathered friends.

The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in Nevada is set to come online in March. Once completed, it will use thousands of mirrors to focus sunlight on a tower, melting millions of pounds of salt contained inside. The molten salt will heat water into steam, which then turns turbines and generates electricity without any carbon byproducts. There’s just one little problem: During a test run on January 14, the intense heat from the mirrors reportedly incinerated and/or vaporized more than 100 birds.

Rewire reports that during the test, operators fired up a third of the 110-megawatt facility’s mirrors, concentrating sunlight on a spot 1,200 feet off the ground.
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US coal mines record lowest death rate with 16; total of 24 die in non-coal mines

Via Casper Star Tribune

The nation’s coal mines set a record for the lowest number of on-the-job fatalities last year, with 16, the federal mining agency said Monday.

There were two fewer deaths than the previous low of 18 in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration. The agency said it is the lowest annual number of coal mining deaths ever recorded.

Forty miners died in 2014 in all mines, which include metal and non-metal operations.

Main has credited increased federal enforcement efforts after the 2010 Upper Big Branch underground mine explosion in West Virginia, which killed 29 workers. Main said more surprise team inspections at troubled mines and other efforts are helping curb safety violations.

The Upper Big Branch mine was owned by Massey Energy at the time of the 2010 explosion. Massey’s former CEO, Don Blankenship, was indicted in federal court in November on charges he conspired to violate safety and health standards.

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Unlike Other Tech Giants, Amazon Doubles Down on Coal

Zhao !  (CC BY 2.0)

Zhao ! (CC BY 2.0)

via Cleantechnica:

“Use the Web? Congrats! You’re an environmentalist.” So said a headline in the Washington Post last week, and with good reason: some of the biggest names behind the internet are powering their data centers with wind and solar power.

That’s important because the internet uses a lot of electricity. If the internet were a country, its electricity demand would rank as the sixth largest in the world.

The Washington Post story focused on search engines, and indeed Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are increasingly powering their data centers with wind power in places like Iowa, Oklahoma, and Texas. But it’s not just search: Apple is powering its data centers, replete with all of our iTunes, with 100% renewable energy from wind, solar, geothermal, and microhydro power. Facebook is aiming for the same goal, and is purchasing massive quantities of wind power in Iowa to power our likes and shares in its data center there.

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Obama’s ‘War on Coal’ Isn’t Real–But It’s Really in the Newspaper

War on coal

Pcture: USGS

Peter Hart writes at F.A.I.R.:

It’d be nice if newspapers covered policy fights as if reality mattered. But corporate media generally prefers to cover politics as a form of public relations–which involves the creation of a reality that you think will help your side win.

For Republicans, this means discussing Barack Obama’s environmental policies as a “war on coal.” And in today’s New York Times (7/2/13), reporter Trip Gabriel covers that story not as someone trying to explain reality to readers, but as someone helping to make the Republican case.

“GOP Sees Opportunity for Election Gains in Obama’s Climate Change Policy” is the headline, and Gabriel explains that after Obama’s recent climate speech, green groups “rejoiced.” But, wouldn’t you know it, “many Republicans were just as gleeful.” Why? Because they believe that this will cost Democrats some support in the next election cycle:

Elected officials and political analysts said the president’s crackdown on coal, the leading source of industrial greenhouse gases, could have consequences for Senate seats being vacated by retiring Democrats in West Virginia and South Dakota, for shaky Democratic incumbents like Mary L.

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Nuclear Accidents and All, Coal Is By Far the Deadliest Energy Source

Energy Death RateBen Jervey writes on GOOD:

Last week, Nicola wrote about an interactive chart that compared the number of deaths per terawatt-hour that could be attributed to a few major sources of energy. Yesterday, Seth Godin did the world a service by simplifying that rather complicated chart.

This is a “non-exaggerated but simple version” of the original deaths/TWh statistics. Perhaps the most stunning, simple takeaway:

For every person killed by nuclear power generation, 4,000 die due to coal, adjusted for the same amount of power produced.

Godin also mentions this incredibly important point, which cannot be driven home hard enough:

Not included in this chart are deaths due to global political instability involving oil fields, deaths from coastal flooding and deaths due to environmental impacts yet unmeasured, all of which skew it even more if you think about it.

So, actually, it’s even worse. As everyone debates the costs and benefits, the pros and cons, and the feasibility of various energy sources as we try to power our future, we should all remember: coal is dangerous, dirty, and not as “cheap” as advertised.

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Hate-Filled Westboro Baptist Church Gets Out-Protested in West Virginia Coal Mine Stunt (Video)

God Hates SignsTimothy B. Hurst writes on ecopolitology:
Never missing a chance to hide behind their children and trot them around carrying signs with hate-filled messages to display for the cameras, members of the radical Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas showed up in Charleston, West Virginia on Thursday to tell the world that the reason the Upper Big Branch Coal Mine accident happened is because God is punishing America for tolerating homosexuality. A message on the Westboro Baptist Church website on Thursday reportedly read: “So God reached down and smacked one of those mines, killing 25.” According to the Charleston Gazette, ”Only six Westboro pickets showed up in front of the Capitol, including two men, one woman and three young children. They held up signs proclaiming: “America Is Doomed,” “Thank God for Dead Miners,” “God Hates Your Tears,” “God Hates West Virginia” and “God Hates You.” Not to be outdone by the hate-filled Westboro parishioners, a large group of no-hate counter protesters held a rally of their own on the steps of the Statehouse in Charleston.
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Will You Be a Victim of Killer Coal?

Coal_cars_in_Ashtabula_Ohio_USAJoshua Frank writing for TruthOut:

So, you thought inhaling glue or driving without a seatbelt was bad for your health? Try living next to a coal-fired power plant.

That’s the diagnosis that Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) relayed to the public in a comprehensive medical study released on November 18, 2009, called “Coal’s Assault of Human Health.” In it, the organization, comprised of physicians and public health experts, claimed that coal pollutants damage every major organ in the human body and contribute to four of the top five leading causes of death in the United States.

“The findings of this report are clear: while the U.S. relies heavily on coal for its energy needs, the consequences of that reliance for our health are grave,” said Dr. Alan H. Lockwood, a principal author of the report and a professor of neurology at the University at Buffalo.

It is not simply about cleaning up the coal process; it is about halting its production altogether in order to immediately save lives – an estimated 24,000 every single year.

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