Protecting the Environment and Growing the Economy Go Hand-in-Hand

The best way to help out-of-work coal miners is to invest in making them part of the clean-energy future.
May 23, 2017 3:05 PM ET

Originally posted on

San Francisco has reduced its carbon emissions by 28 percent since 1990, while growing its GDP by 79 percent. And it’s far from alone. Across the country, cities have been proving that protecting the environment and growing the economy go hand-in-hand.

A big part of this story is that cities – large and small, in red and blue states – have been transitioning away from coal and toward cleaner sources of energy. Clean energy sources are at their cheapest prices in history, and since burning coal leads to asthma, lung disease, cancer, heart disease, birth defects, and countless other illnesses, consumers are increasingly demanding cleaner energy. As a result, coal production is no longer economically competitive.

In fact, since 2010, nearly half of all U.S. coal plants have closed or switched to cleaner energy sources. As a result, the number of Americans dying each year from pollution from coal-fired power plants has been cut from 13,000 to about 7,500. That is great news for our health and environment – and it’s also been good for our economy.

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