The coal industry kills more Americans than it employs
Air pollution caused by the coal industry in the U.S. is killing 52,000 Americans each year, more than the 51,000 Americans working for the coal industry, a study made by the Michigan Technological University, recently published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews shows.
The study was made public at the same time as President Donald Trump decided to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement while pledging to continue to rely on coal-burning plants.
Lead researchers Joshua Pearce and Emily Prehoda calculated the number of deaths caused by coal air pollution, last year, for every state in the U.S.
The researchers projected future deaths caused by coal air pollution considering that the pollution level will remain similar in the future at the present level.
They estimated that coal air pollution will kill 52,000 Americans each year – a number higher than people working in the coal industry which, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is around 51,000.
The paper argues that the U.S. should increase its reliance on solar power as a way to prevent thousands of deaths.
The researchers calculated that replacing coal plants with photovoltaic technology in order to save 52,000 lives would cost $1.45 trillion – $1,1 million dollars per saved American.
However, including in the calculation the economic value of photovoltaic technology and the jobs it creates, the study concludes that actually lead to several million dollars per saved life added to the economy.
According to data released by The Solar Foundation, 260,000 people are now employed by the solar industry.
Most of them work in in installation of solar panels, earning an average of $25.96 per hour.