I wonder what the overall human cost of coal mining is, just in terms injuries and diseases suffered by the miners themselves. The overall health impacts of coal burning and pollution is another story, but I’m just thinking about mining itself. It’s the second most dangerous job in America, the first being drumming for Spinal Tap, though technically you could consider that an English job. In China, between the years 2000 and 2005, over 36,000 coal miners died. Read that again. And those are just the “official” statistics.
I don’t think the world is ready to switch away from coal, obviously. And clearly, the environmental costs of burning and mining coal are probably the heaviest weight on the scale in favor of reducing our dependence on coal. But damn a lot of people get hurt and die getting that shit out of the ground. Shouldn’t that at least be a part of the discussion of reasons to back away from coal?
But I suppose it’s pretty much exclusively poor, uneducated and powerless people down in those mines anyway. So who gives a fuck?