Australian solar power solutions provider Energy Matters has unveiled a web-based counter that updates the amount of coal burned globally for electricity generation every tenth of a second, along with the carbon emissions created. The company is offering the counter application free to web site owners and bloggers.
It can be difficult to grasp the concept of the massive volume of coal the world burns through each year, or even each day. According to Energy Matters co-founder, Max Sylvester, the rapidly changing numbers on the counter will help raise awareness of the amount the world consumes and coal’s role in pushing the environment to the brink of climate catastrophe.
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“Based on data we’ve obtained from coal industry sources, it appears that at least 140 metric tonnes of thermal coal, primarily used for electricity generation, is burned globally every second second of the day on average. The associated carbon emissions released into the atmosphere from that quantity of coal is, very conservatively, 203 tonnes. Even broken down to a per second timeframe, the quantity is just mind-boggling.”
Energy Matters provides background data on their coal and carbon emissions counter page, which also offers copy and paste code for different counter sizes that web site owners and bloggers can easily implement on their web pages.
“Carbon emissions aside, the coal industry wreaks all manner of environmental havoc – mountains are decimated, waterways poisoned, habitats destroyed. Coal fired power generation is also a major contributor to atmospheric mercury emissions. Even the huge quantities of ash left behind after combustion, called fly ash, is toxic. Most people just don’t realise the huge negative impact this fossil fuel has.”
Mr. Sylvester says clean coal is not the answer.
“This push for so-called “clean coal” is ironic in that those technologies require more energy and therefore more coal to be mined and burned. Even if highly controversial carbon capture and storage technologies do work, and that’s a big if, “clean coal” does nothing but worsen habitat destruction, mercury and ash issues. Whether it’s “old” coal or “new generation” coal – it’s still a filthy energy source.”
Mr. Sylvester states the true cost of coal is not just buried in the massive tax-payer sponsored subsidisation; which has been at the expense of accelerating clean, renewable energy development, but also in human health impacts and environmental debt accumulated.
“This a debt that has now been called in through climate change. We are only just starting to pay that debt now, the worst of it will be left for future generations.”
Mr. Sylvester says the future doesn’t have to be one of gloom and doom if changes are made now.
“The coal and carbon counter is to get people thinking on these issues and about choices when it comes to energy. We can slow the counter down immediately by a massive collective effort in taking small personal actions such as improved energy efficiency in the home and at work. Reducing electricity consumption is not only good for the planet, but given looming electricity price rises, it’s good for the hip-pocket too.”
“We can also undertake larger actions such as installing a home solar power system or becoming more active in calling on governments to immediately begin phasing out subsidisation of coal and to channel that support into renewable energy. The solar power revolution has already begun, but it will require far more political will than has been displayed to date in order for humanity kick the coal habit for good… and there is no question that it needs to kick it now.”