If human-caused climate change is to be slowed enough to avert the worst consequences of global warming, carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and other pollutants will have to be captured and injected deep into the ground to prevent them from being released into the atmosphere.
Federal judges Tuesday upheld U.S. EPA’s air standards for mercury and other hazardous pollutants in a major win for the Obama administration.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the agency acted reasonably in promulgating its 2012 mercury and air toxics, or MATS, rule, which was the most significant EPA regulation of President Obama’s first term.
A new energy plan approved by Japan’s cabinet on April 11 designates coal an important long-term electricity source while falling short of setting specific targets for cleaner energy from wind, solar and geothermal. The policy also gives nuclear power the same prominence as coal in Japan’s energy strategy.
According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “Climate change harms the poor first and worst.” This is true, because the poor are the most vulnerable and have the least resources with which to adapt. But we often forget that current policies to address global warming make energy much more costly, and that this harms the world’s poor much more.
"Unless we deal with coal, we're not going to be able to deal with climate change," says WIRED contributing editor Charles Mann, whose cover story in the magazine's April issue tackles the tricky issue of 'clean coal.'
Clean coal sounds like an oxymoron: coal-fired plants are responsible for over 70% of the world's carbon dioxide, producing 10.4 billion tons per year, according to Mann. Coal also produces the vast majority of black carbon, the second-biggest contributor to climate change.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed CO2 rule for new coal-fired power plants, which was published on Jan. 8 and requires partial carbon capture and storage systems (CCS) on these plants, would actually freeze development of CCS technologies.
“This regulation will essentially stop the development of CCS,” said Alstom official Robert Hilton in March 12 testimony to Congress.
CCS could hike energy cost 80 percent
TESTIFYING BEFORE the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Feb. 11, a technical expert from the Department of Energy estimated that carbon capture and storage technology could increase the cost of wholesale electricity by 70-80 percent.