Argument: Coal has become much cleaner in recent decades


America’s “Ask the Experts” – I saw an ad that said coal plants are now 70% cleaner than they were in the 1970s. Is that really true?

It is true!

The calculations are based on five pollutants: carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calculates environmental performance per unit of energy produced. That is, the relationship of emissions per billion kilowatt-hours.

From 1970 to 2000, the value for that ratio fell from 30,510 short tons per billion kilowatt-hours to just 8,040 short tons per billion kilowatt-hours — a reduction of 73.66%.

Mark Kinver. “How coal is cleaning up its act”. BBC. 27 Nov. 2005