CRF Blog

The Future of Coal

by David De La Torre

In The fuel of the future, unfortunately, The Economist reports that coal will remain part of the energy mix.

The increased emissions of carbon dioxide from soaring coal consumption threaten to fry the planet, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reminded everyone in a new report this week …. The CO2 makes the oceans acid; burning coal also produces sulphur dioxide, which makes buildings crumble and lungs sting, and other toxic chemicals. By some counts, coal-fired power stations emit more radioactivity than nuclear ones. They release tiny, lethal particulates. Per unit generated, coal-fired stations cause far more deaths than nuclear ones, and more even than oil-fired ones.

But poverty kills people too, and slow growth can cost politicians their jobs. Two decades of environmental worries are proving only a marginal constraint on the global coal industry. [more]