Decline of Coal Consumption


Kaden Katz

The beauty of the San Juan Mountains reminds us to protect nature as we know it.

Kaden Katz, Staff Writer

TELLURIDE — There were a lot of things to celebrate as 2019 came to a close.

The decade included a decrease in child poverty, increase in life expectancy, and movements like “Me Too” have dramatically changed multiple countries around the world.

To add on to these key moments, coal consumption in United States of America decreased by 18% last year, according to an article published by ‘The Atlantic’ on Jan. 7, 2020. This is the largest drop ever recorded, reaching the lowest level of consumption since 1975. And, according to the same article, the drop in coal consumption has helped reduce our nation’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 10%.

Although the decline of coal use in America is very exciting, our country still has a lot of work to do.

The United States has increased the amount of pollution affecting the air and water last year, and fossil fuels are still a growing resource in the economy. We are the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and we are responsible for 16% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions today, according to a report published by the ‘Union of Concerned Scientists,’ which was updated on Oct. 2019.  Although our nation is still thriving off of fossil fuels and other limited resources, the progress we see in coal consumption has healthy and beneficial outcomes for our country.

THS science teacher Chris Loew has a B.S. in entomology and wildlife conservation and is excited for the changes alternative energy resources will bring.

It’s exciting and inspiring to hear that we are using less coal.  We are finding alternative energy sources that can compete economically with coal but have less of an environmental impact,” Chris Loew said.

“The mining and burning of coal has negative health effects that will be reduced.  By supporting alternative energy sources, our country and community will have new career opportunities in research and development,” he said. 

Loew states that as we move away from coal and start relying on other alternative energy sources, we can help our community and country by creating more jobs and attaining a healthier planet.

There are many things we can do in our community to help limit our carbon footprint, and although we have succeeded in the fall out of coal, we must keep fighting.

Limiting your carbon footprint can be accomplished with small decisions made on a  daily basis,” Loew said. “Simple choices about what you eat, buy, or how you get to school can have an impact.” 

What we do and how we impact the environment affects more than just yourself; it also affects all the generations yet to come who deserve a future where there is still snow on the mountains and there is still peace in forests. With each and every action we take, we create a path that will guide the next generation. What actions will you take to defend nature as we know it?