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Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Big Coal

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Big Coal

The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future

by Jeff Goodell

Big Coal
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2006, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2007, 352 pages

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Beyond the Book

Facts & Stats according to Big Coal

  • More than 1/2 of the USA's electricity comes from coal.
  • The USA burns more than a billion tons a year - an average of 20 lbs per person per day.
  • Coal plants account for 40% of carbon dioxide emissions in the USA.
  • According to alternate energy guru Amory Lovins of The Rocky Mountain Institute, by the time you mine the coal, haul it to the power plant, burn it, and then send electricity over the wires to a light bulb, only about 3% of the energy in a ton of coal is transformed into light. Just the energy wasted by coal plants in the USA would be enough to power the entire Japanese economy!
  • In the 1920s there were more than 700,000 USA coal miners, today there are more florists than there are miners.
  • Waste from mountain-top removal mining (removing the mountain to reveal the coal) in Appalachia alone has turned about 400,000 acres of once biologically rich temperate forest into flat, barren wasteland.
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