Beyond coal

by Tyler Kraus

Recently, the University of Minnesota was listed as an âÄúOverall Sustainability LeaderâÄù and received an A- on the College Sustainability Report Card 2010. While this is a great accomplishment, the University can further clean up its act in one major way âÄî stopping the use of coal on campus. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel energy used today and its use is projected to increase. Thirty percent of United StateâÄôs carbon dioxide emissions come solely from coal-fired power plants each year. Burning coal emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than oil or natural gas, and is the single greatest contributor to human-caused mercury pollution. Despite this, the University burns coal on campus every day. This is unacceptable. Although the University promotes the research of biomass fuels, solar and wind power, conservation and recycling, the continued use of coal is a glaring hypocrisy. It is time for the University to step up and truly own its âÄúOverall Sustainability LeaderâÄù status by moving beyond coal. Taylor Kraus University undergraduate student