For generations, children have been threatened with coal in their stocking as punishment for being naughty—but giving kids, and all of us, coal fired power plants is a punishment that can last 40 years or more.
Coal provides half of the electricity in the U.S., but at the cost of damage to the environment and public health. In addition to the mercury pollution it causes, coal power plants are the leading contributor to global warming in the U.S. Today, utilities are planning to build 150 new coal-fired power plants, most of which would rely on old, heavily polluting "pulverized coal" technology that has a lifespan of at least 40-50 years.Clean energy alternatives like wind, solar, and energy efficiency avoid the pollution from coal power plants. Renewable energy also has the added benefit of creating more jobs than coal power. In many places, wind energy is already cost-competitive with coal. Looking towards the future, global warming legislation that regulates carbon emissions would make renewable energy an even cheaper alternative compared to coal.
This holiday season, the Union of Concerned Scientists is asking supporters to call on their members of Congress to support clean energy.
You can send an e-mail to your members of Congress.
Or, if want to be a little more creative, you can send them a handwritten holiday card telling the new Congress that you deserve better than coal in the New Year.