By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Cancer
The mayors of America's largest cities are actively fighting coal as an energy source, citing emissions, health risks and cost. Will they succeed?
America's mayors are picking up arms against the coal industry.
The philanthropic foundation of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last week that it will commit $50 million over four years to the Sierra Club in a campaign to retire coal for cleaner sources of energy.
The grant will help retire a third of the nation's aging coal fleet by 2020, the organization says.
Coal is the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. It's polluting, it's dirty, and its use carries an array of health hazards -- from asthma to birth defects to cancer -- that is estimated to cost $100 billion in healthcare costs each year.
Enter the mayor of America's most populous city. Following in the footsteps of the mayor of another major U.S. city -- Antonio Villaraigosa, of Los Angeles, who promises a coal-free city by 2013 -- Bloomberg is striking out against coal, calling it a "self-inflicted public health risk."
"If we are going to get serious about reducing our carbon footprint in the United States, we have to get serious about coal," Bloomberg said in a statement. "Ending coal power production is the right thing to do, because, while it may seem to be an inexpensive energy source, the impact on our environment and the impact on public health is significant."
The money goes toward the Sierra Club's "Beyond Coal" campaign, which works to close coal-fired power plants. It certainly doesn't hurt that the cost of coal is increasing at the same time that the cost of renewables is decreasing, making the 19th-century technology less favorable as the nation enacts policy favorable for the 21st.
(For many utilities, it's more cost-effective to close a plant outright than apply pollution-reduction equipment to meet regulations.)
It's not just the coasts that are on board with fighting coal, either: Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel yesterday unveiled that his administration was working on an ordinance to urge coal-fired plants in the area shut down or convert to cleaner-burning natural gas, again citing health costs.
Meanwhile, Houston mayor Annise Parker in April took a longer look at a proposed plant in her city, citing environmental damage as a risk.
And it certainly doesn't help that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month took a tougher stance on coal pollution with its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, effectively dooming the nation's oldest coal-powered facilities.
New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston; 1, 2, 3, 4. Are the tides turning for coal in the U.S.?
Photo: Fisk coal-fired power plant, Chicago, Ill. (Eric Pancer/Flickr)
Jul 29, 2011
Colorado just went through the exercise of "forcing" our power utility, Xcel Energy, to close the dirtiest coal plants and replace others with natural gas. Except if you look at the plants closed, it was no accident that they were also the oldest and most costly to run. It was also no accident that Xcel was behind the bill in the state legislature that got this passed. As a publicly regulated utility, Xcel is always guaranteed a profit no matter what costs they incur. They just need permission from the state first to charge whatever they want. In the name of the environment, Xcel basically got the people of Colorado to fund huge new investments in new plants. The big capital outlays required up-front for this will only increase the average Coloradan's energy bill. In normal times Xcel would never have gotten such a massive capital investment, all at their customers' expense.
Well if there was ever a "Stupid Asshole" measurement this would be it! What do you and these mayors think is going to power their cities ... hot air and political bullshit? This article has to be the most moronic thing I've read on this newsletter. Please, you and these mayors, the President and all the simple-minded people who think that wind & water are going to provide all of the power you need to live like you do now, form your own nation of idiots .... somewhere far from here. I've heard that there's lots of room in the Middle East.
My son, Ben, our two Labradors & I got Cancer from our drinking water that contained Toxic Levels of Arsenic Trioxide, Manganese & Iron... The State of GA is investigating our Cancer Clusters. When 2 yr olds are getting prostate cancer, we have had more than enough Environmental Toxins... put a cup to spigot at bottom of your water heater to collect water to check for heavy metals... Your water heater collects heavy metals the same way your body does!! Buy a filter, or be a filter!!! www.caringbridge.org/visit/benmcmahan
Can someone translate into layman's English? It seems there's an important point being made, but the language subverts it.
While I applaud the mayor's intent, they are all policy and wasting money. As a science based group that designs for and creates emissions, we spent several years isolating the mechanism causing urban heat islands as well as why massive energy or coal burning is used responding to them. Building development is supposed to reflect or protect from solar radiation or the buildings will be radiated by the same UV that burns our skin. We couldn't see that the exterior color or lack of shade could make the building grossly exceed design temperature. Once we found there were massive emissions being produced responding to the symptoms of UV interaction, we were directed to the Sierra Club for one and contacted their "coal professional". After weeks of attempts to inform them, we couldn't even get a return call or speak with a live person. The mayors need to understand their own jurisdictions have building problems with more coal use because of UV when the building needs low-e exterior finsihes or shade. It should be done by builders to stay code compliant at their cost but they couldn't see it. Mayors need to prevent people from painting the exterior of their buildings or removing trees because they are ruining their own investment with their intent. Here is a building in the infrared spectrum 185 degrees F when meteorologists are reporting 86 F and this one house is using the equivalent of 30-100 watt light bulbs per hour reacting to the symptoms. Air conditioning is in fact refrigeration requiring lots of coal burning reacting to the symptoms of the building being radiated by the sun. It makes the buildings illegal and a sick building which affects investment. Here is what it looks like in the infrared spectrum. http://www.thermoguy.com/blog/index.php?itemid=73 The Sierra Club isn't going to meet your objectives, the buildings will still be close to boiling temperature.
Are these mayors are pledging taxpayer dollars to a activist political organization? LA is amusing. More and more, it becomes dependent upon resources outside its borders, and then attacks even those. They hardly represent a sustainable model to follow.
With over a third of the nations power coming from Coal power plants, do we Really want to just shut them down? Do you want to run your air conditioner, your computer, or charge your new GREEN electric car? How much are you willing to pay? Hmmm all questions that have to be answered. How will they be answered? Technology determines what CAN be done. Economics determines what SHOULD be done. Politics determines what WILL be done.
LA is the most unsustainable city in the US and possibly the world. Nearly 100% of it's water comes from outside it's borders. Most of the state is irrigated with water from outside the state. For them to be worried about coal burning power plants hurting the environment is a joke.
Building designs can either retain heat or reflect heat. Many buildings in Southern California have exteriors that seem to be built to retain heat. Buildings that retain heat allow the hot exterior to heat the interior requiring higher cooling needs. Read air conditioning. Buildings should be designed for their location, in this example Southern California. Just as homes in New England are insulated to keep heat in during the 9 months a year they need to, Southern California buildings should be designed to reflect heat and keep it from reaching the interior because most of the year they do not have to heat their buildings. Such designs lower their cooling needs and by default their power consumption. That is why old Californians used light colored adobe buildings with thick walls. The light color reflected the scorching sun and the thick walls insulated the interiors. That and exceptional airflow designs kept them relatively cool in the pre air conditioning days. We are seeing rising average temperatures in the US because of this urban heat island effect. A building that retains heat will spend hours radiating it after dark. Multiply that by hundreds or thousands of buildings and this radiated heat is why urban areas can be as much as 10 degrees F higher at night than surrounding suburbs. I hope that helps.
Local taxpayer dollars will be going to a lobbyist who will then lobby state and federal elected officials with bribes (campaign contributions to do something over half the people in the US oppose.
Oh Hates! Further evidence of self hatred. 1. What are the criteria for sustainability of a city? That water comes from within a city's borders surely isn't one of them. (BTW, L.A.'s water comes from the Sacramento River down the California Aqueduct). 2. Which state is irrigated with water from outside the state? Not California. Irrigation in Calif comes from Sierra Nevada runoff and the Sacramento River Delta. Scrambled thinking award of the day: Water--Coal.
50% of LA???s water, an average 430 million gallons per day, comes from aqueducts draining the Mono Lake Basin and the Owens River Basin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The aqueducts are over 200 miles long putting the water sources well outside LA???s borders. Southern California, including LA, gets another 4.4 million acre/feet of water from the Colorado River. That water makes up another 10 to 12% of LA's water. A 400 miles long aqueduct brings another 10% of LA???s water from the San Joaquin Valley. Los Angeles began running out of local water back in around 1900 with a population of barely 100,000 before the 200 miles long Los Angeles Aqueduct was built. LA would still have only 100,000 people if it did not import water. Take a look at the shrinking size of Mono Lake over the last 40 years and reassess your statement.
Ok! Ok! Don't blind me with statistics. The story was about coal. Why are you talking about water and L.A.?