Coal – A Corporate Collateral


Ashtyn Zimmerman

Climate change — an issue on minds internationally. Between plastic straws and using too much water, people can be doing so much more to save the dire situation presented. These realities are thrown at civilians, between commercials, posters, billboards, movies, television shows, even kids cartoons, but the citizens are not responsible for the chaos diving deep into the arctic glaciers. In order to solve the desperate climate crisis humanity is faced with, the corporations throwing such propaganda are needed to step up.

The Birth of the End

Industrialization is a fact of modern life. The United States began industrialization in the 1800’s, with steam power. In the 1960’s, the modern world switched to coal power, and according to NASA, the big boom of climate change began in the late 60’s and early 70’s, which makes sense. 

Not only did the globe switch to a strong pollutant, but the baby boom of the 1960’s (which coined the term ‘Baby Boomers’, later evolving into ‘Boomers’) brought many more bright eyes and bushy tails than the world had ever had to handle before. All of these people need power. According to, during this age refrigerators, washing machines, and televisions were all beginning to sell. With more people to buy for, sales grew as well, and as did the need for electricity. 

According to the IPCC SPM, “Climate change is already affecting every inhabited region across the globe, with human influence contributing to many observed changes in weather and climate extremes”, meaning climate change is to a point where it has to be reversed — and soon.

Coal’s Corrosion

Coal is a big part of climate change, according to The Guardian, 14.32% of all global CO2 emissions is caused by China’s usage of coal alone, and 71% of all emissions are brought on by a mere 100 corporations globally. With the usage of coal and other fossil fuels for power instead of other fuels, climate change is nearly inevitable. 

Coal is not the only option, though. According to, 

In a nuclear power vs coal power comparison, however, consider that combustion of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In fact, 90 percent of the carbon emissions from electricity generation in the United States come from coal-fired power plants. They emit pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, toxic metals, arsenic, cadmium and mercury.

A pellet of nuclear fuel weighs approximately 0.1 ounce (6 grams). However, that single pellet yields the amount of energy equivalent to that generated by a ton of coal, 120 gallons of oil or 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas, making nuclear fuel much more efficient than fossil fuels.

Not only is coal destroying the planet, it isn’t even the best option. Nuclear plants can make more power with less fuel, and, more importantly, less pollution.

On top of nuclear, science has brought other clean fuels, like wind power, solar power, and hydraulics. The Paris Agreement can help these fuels become more mainstream. According to the UNFCCC, The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. The Paris Agreement is an important document, which claims it’s goal to get climate change reversed before a 1.5 degree celsius change in global temperatures combines. These efforts, if focused on properly, can help reverse the horrible damage done to mother Earth.

Since industrialization gave birth to the need for electricity and the 60’s brought populations through the roof, coal has been found to be the biggest polluter alongside oil. This pollution can be reversible if global leaders follow the Paris agreement and switch to cleaner fuel sources like hydropower, windmills, solar power or nuclear power. Thanks to coal, the path to a cleaner Earth is a political one, not a SPASH issue. Use some extra water, rev the engine of that Chevy, but keep eyes on the politicians.