Out With the Old – Why Coal is Quickly Losing Public Support

Guest post by Hubert Dwight

Coal has long been used as a cheap and efficient energy source around the world.

China, the U.S., and Australia are currently the top three producers of coal.

With more awareness about the dangers of fossil fuel overuse and pollution, it is time to develop more alternative power sources to balance the environment.

Fortunately, solar power energy providers, as well as hydro and wind power sources are becoming more commonplace to help lower carbon emissions and produce cleaner energy.

Continue reading to learn more about the shift in public perception on the use of coal for energy resources.

Changing Attitudes Globally

Both the U.S. and China are both the biggest producers and the largest consumers of coal.

While public perception may be going against the idea of coal usage, it is likely to not be going away anytime soon.

However, there is a push towards renewable energy sources, because reliance solely on coal deteriorates the environmental balance.

A report from National Surveys on Energy and Environment, produced by Muhlenberg College and the University of Michigan shows the attitude towards coal has shifted in the last 10 years with the American public.

The study shows that coal decreased from 48% in 2008 to 30% in 2016, while natural gas increased from 21% to 34% in the electricity grid of the U.S.

Australia’s Changing Mindset

In Australia, there is a battle over the Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s bid to construct a new coal mine.

A public outcry against the project along with years of negotiations and court rulings mean the project is still no closer to a green light.

Adani claims the mine will supply India with much-needed coal. Interestingly enough, India’s coal minister says he wants to cut coal imports.

Solar power has become affordable and accessible for Indians, currently at an all-time low.

While the large-scale Adani project promises to bring jobs, money, and products to both Australia and India, the politicians and the public are at odds and there is no resolution just yet.

The Need for Something New

Coal still provides about 75% of Australia’s electricity.

That is starting to change with shutdowns of older plants that would be too costly to refurbish.

Plants have about a 50-year lifespan, and many have or will soon pass that mark in the next decade.

This is why a push towards solar and wind energy has developed in recent years.

Politics and coal seem to go hand in hand these days. Jobs, economy, energy crisis, and global warming are all terms swirled around in parliamentary debates with political parties volleying terms back and forth without resolution.

The current political climate in the U.S. is essentially slowing the funding and support for renewable energy sources.

Cutbacks and restructuring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as President Trump’s promise to maintain and expand the coal industry are cause for concern, to say the least.

Coal is Losing Public Support

Fortunately, there are an increasing number of agencies and businesses that are rising above governmental delays and fossil fuel support to work towards the goal of more renewable energy sources.

Organisations like BASE in Switzerland have projects in developing countries all over the world to help implement renewable energy sources and innovation. In order to achieve success in their projects, they partner with public and private institutions.

While coal is still a large part of the energy industry around the world, with continued research and insistence on renewable energy sources by governments and its citizens, we can achieve a better environmental balance for future generations.