Transition from coal-burning plants to natural gas for electricity production in the U.S. shows it can change the environment for the better, according to a recent study.
The shutdown of coal-fired power plants between 2005 and 2016, saved an estimated 26,610 lives and 570 million bushels of corn, soybeans and wheat in immediate vicinities, according to the study by the University of California San Diego that was published Monday in Nature Sustainability science journal
The transition also reduced nearby pollution and its negative impacts on human health and crop yields.
In 10 years, carbon dioxide emissions declined, along with pollution levels, in hundreds of regions across the U.S.
The inverse calculation, estimating the damages caused by coal plants left in operation over the same period, suggests it contributed to 329,417 premature deaths and the loss of 10.2 billion bushels of crops, roughly equivalent to half of the year’s typical production in the country.
By Beyza Binnur Donmez