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

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

by Ben Jervey

March 24, 2011

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.

Godin titles his post, "The triumph of coal marketing." He's right: we've been conditioned through marketing to believe that our country cannot live without coal—that it is cheap, creates jobs, keeps our economy churning, and can be "clean"—when in fact none of those things are hard and fast truths. Rather, they're mostly lies. Coal kills. It's not as cheap as advertised, especially when all of the external costs (health, lost jobs to labor-light mountaintop removal mining, ecosystem degradation, water contamination, and so on) are considered . And it's a ticking time bomb for our atmosphere and climate.

Ben Jervey More Info

Ben is a writer and editor covering climate change, energy, and environment, and is currently the Climate and Energy Media Fellow at Vermont Law School. He was the original Environment Editor at GOOD Magazine and his work has appeared regularly in National Geographic News, Grist, DeSmogBlog, and OnEarth. He recently worked with the non-profit Focus the Nation to publish an Energy 101 primer. When living in New York City, he wrote a book, The Big Green Apple, on how to live a lower impact life in the city. A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.
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Nuclear Accidents and All, Coal Is By Far the Deadliest Energy Source