Global coal damage costs 360 billion euro annually

WARSAW (AFP) – The use of coal for energy production causes at least 360 billion euros worth of damage to human health and the environment every year, Greenpeace said in a new report published on Thursday.

“When taking into account about 90 percent of the global emissions and looking at these damages, we get a conservative but robust cost figure of 360 billion euros annually,” Agnieszka Markowska, damages expert and co-author of Greenpeace’s “True Cost of Coal” report told reporters in Warsaw.

“With the projected rising damages due to the impacts of climate change, this total number is likely to increase sharply,” she said days ahead of the launch of UN climate talks December 1-12 in the western Polish city of Poznan.

In cooperation with The Netherlands’-based CE Delft think-tank, Greenpeace focused on the “external costs of coal in 2007 for damages attributable to climate change, human health impacts from air pollution and fatalities due to major mining accidents.”

The report notes that the negative impact of coal is “not only related to climate change.”

“Coal also pollutes water resources, dirties the air and causes black lung disease,” it says.

The Greenpeace report warns coal is the most climate-polluting fossil fuel, responsible for one third of global carbon dioxide emissions, a figure which is forecast to increase to 60 percent by 2030.

Greenpeace urged the December UN climate conference to move towards adopting a global CO2 emissions reduction plan that would see them peak by 2015 and then decline radically by 25 to 40 percent to prevent global temperatures rising more than two degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

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