Coal-based energy impacts on climate
The burning of coal to produce electricity and the mining of the coal itself both produce carbon dioxide, methane, and other "greenhouse gases." These gases trap solar-hear once dispersed in the atmosphere and contribute to global rising temperatures. These increases of temperature have the effect of creating greater fluctuations in established weather patterns, which could pose a whole host of problems for our environment and our health. Increasing temperatures means changing local weather, which could lead to increased risk of drought in Kentucky, increased rate of flooding, and changes in what crops are fit for growing and decreased food security. These changing conditions have wide-ranging possible effects on health as well. Increased temperatures could increase the risk of heat stroke, just as increased rates of flooding could mean more deaths from flooding. There are proposed methods of trapping carbon dioxide and then storing it underground, but the effectiveness of these methods and their long-term feasibility are still of concern.
For even more information on this and other health issues, please see the Health Impact Assessment of Coal and Clean Energy Options in Kentucky.