September 13, 2006
Global Warming: Coal — It’s Cheap and Dirty
Global Warming: Coal — It’s Cheap and Dirtygasification and sequestration. Its potential effectiveness is highly debated. Only a handful of plants are already doing gasification (using integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technology), but none is sequestering yet. Very few of the new coal-fired power plants will include even the IGCC technology.Depressed yet? Then don’t look east to China, where coal is providing two thirds of the energy for the country’s incandescent economy…It’s not clear where to start looking for solutions, but we’re going to talk about it anyway. Because that’s what we do. Please add your voice.
- Author, Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy FutureContributing editor, Rolling StoneContributor, New York Times Magazine
- Head, Carbon Storage Program, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- Director, Global Warming and Energy Progam, Sierra Club
- Extra Credit Reading
- Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt, The Price of Climate Change, New York Times, November 5, 2006: “Rain raised food prices, and those prices, in turn, led hungry families to steal in order to feed themselves.”Tina Vital, The Democrats’ Energy Game Plan, Business Week Online, November 12, 2006: “While some energy subindustries, such as “homegrown” alternative energy, may be given more support by the Democrats than the Republicans, S&P believes the Democrats will be less friendly towards certain key industries that they perceive to have been unduly favored by the Republicans. For example, energy companies are likely to be in for a rougher ride, and may face hearings to investigate price levels.”S. 342 Climate Stewardship Act of 2005, GovTrack.us, February 10, 2005: “A bill to provide for a program of scientific research on abrupt climate change, to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by establishing a market-driven system of greenhouse gas tradable allowances, to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and reduce dependence upon foreign oil, and ensure benefits to consumers from the trading in such allowances.”Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, Fight Global Warming, PostGlobal, November 7, 2006: “The U.S. does not need to like the Kyoto Treaty. There are other ways to reduce emissions. The U.S. does not need to talk about “global warming.” “Energy independence” is fine for now as long as the new sources of energy are clean. In the end, there will be no energy independence without conservation.”Simon Romero, 2 Industry Leaders bet on Coal but Split on Cleaner Approach, New York Times, May 28, 2006: “But while sooty smokestacks are no longer a big problem in modern coal-burning power plants, the increase in global warming gases is. A typical 500-megawatt coal-fired electricity plant, supplying enough power to run roughly 500,000 homes, alone produces as much in emissions annually as about 750,000 cars, according to estimates from Royal Dutch Shell.”Michael Arndt, The New Clean Fuel: Coal Producer Goes Green, Business Week Online, September 26, 2005: “If regulators side with AEP, it could lead other power companies to make the switch. That could boost clean-coal technology from the pilot-project stage, where it has been stuck for more than a decade, to full commercialization. Since these plants wring out pollutants instead of sending them up the chimney, their wider use could reignite demand for high-sulfur coal, which has been in decline since the Clean Air Act of 1970, and thus return jobs to the coal basin in the rural Midwest. Indeed, AEP’s impact may reach all the way to China, which is facing global pressure to clean up its growing fleet of coal-burning generators.”