Tag archives for coal

Thought leaders from across Japan’s energy sector gathered in Tokyo to discuss the role energy will play in adapting the country’s cities to a challenging environment of aging and declining population and increasing dependence on foreign sources for food and fuel. Tokyo-Yokohama, the world’s largest urban concentration, is already in many ways in the vanguard of the future of urban centers. What happens in this mega city is being watched closely across the planet for ideas to emulate or avoid.

Like a lot of technologies that might be enlisted in the fight against climate change, carbon capture has faced a bit of a chicken-and-egg dilemma, castigated by skeptics as unproven yet given little opportunity to demonstrate its efficacy on a large scale. That begins to change today with the opening of the Boundary Dam Carbon…

Yes, failing … just like the coal ash ponds along the Dan River. What Put the Stuff on the Map Despite being a political football [pdf] that had been tossed around Capitol Hill, the coal industry and EPA headquarters throughout the ‘90s and early aughts, coal ash was rarely a topic of dinner conversation around most American supper tables I suspect.…

Which is more important: Meeting energy demand, lowering carbon emissions, or conserving water? How about all three? The Three Big Challenges Facing the Electric Power Industry The U.S. electric power industry has huge challenges to meet in the coming decades. First and foremost it has to meet growing demand for electricity. By 2050 it is…

The Obama administration on Friday unveiled the first-ever national limits for carbon emissions from new power plants in the United States–a step that seeks to reshape the debate on climate change in the inevitable political and legal battles that lie ahead. (See related, “Four Ways to Look at Global Carbon Footprints.”) “We must meet our…

… in three regions. When it comes to climate change, coal, the dirtiest of the fossil fuels, is a definite baddie — BTU for BTU, burning it puts out almost 30 percent more carbon dioxide (CO2) than burning petroleum and about 78 percent more CO2 than natural gas. Want to fight climate change? Then you…

The federal government’s latest international energy projections are out, and there’s no question we’re living in a time of enormous change—and perhaps remarkably little progress. The International Energy Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration tries to identify the big trends and projections affecting the energy world through 2040. Some of the trends include: The…

  Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s now famous comment, “Never let a serious crisis to go to waste,” could not have been more true of Hurricane Sandy, which was a harbinger of the costly destructive power of climate change.  Sandy made clear that willful ignorance of climate science and inaction is simply…

A lot of the debate over energy and climate change has focused on changing how people live. But in a lot of ways, where someone lives is as important as how they live. Not all parts of the United States are the same when it comes to how much and what kind of energy is…

A debate is in full-swing in northwest Washington state about the energy, economic, and environmental future of the region, where coal export terminals have been proposed to send U.S., and potentially Canadian coal to Asia. A plan to build a sprawling $665 million coal terminal northwest of Bellingham,  Washington has been the focal point of…

Clean Coal Turnabout?

A clean-coal lobbying group talks of a “shared … commitment” with the Obama administration on the environment. Hmm.

I’ve just arrived in Moscow for a meeting — the subject will be soot. You may hear it called black carbon or even elemental carbon. Scientists getting technical will call it the “light-absorbing part of particles suspended in the atmosphere.” Let’s just keep it simple and call it soot.* (More on black carbon.) Soot: pollution…

A lack of wind won’t stall our future renewable energy economy, but Congress might. Debunking the Myths That Take the Wind out of Wind Energy’s Sails Wind has its downsides. It’s intermittent; it’s too expensive. Fair points, but there are ways around them. For example the whole intermittency issue could be handled now by using…

How do Obama’s words on energy compare to Team Romney’s? Last week, while the Republicans were celebrating the Romney-Ryan ticket in Tampa, Florida, we posted a count-the-words analysis of their energy plan. The plan’s overall aim is to achieve energy independence for North America. The numbers told us the path to independence for the Romney…

Oil, gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, efficiency. Which are the Republican hopefuls’ priorities? This week, it’s convention time for the Republican presidential and vice presidential nominees. Last week, the Romney-Ryan team rolled out its energy policy [pdf] for the nation. Entitled “The Romney Plan For A Stronger Middle Class: ENERGY INDEPENDENCE,” the new plan, running…

Peter Voser, the chief executive officer of Shell, sees a world where energy, food, and water resources face increasing stress, and where businesses can offer the leadership that national governments have failed to provide in the search for solutions. Shell is sponsor of National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge, an effort to engage and enlighten readers…

Something crucial was missing from the first-ever global inventory of tax breaks for oil companies and other fossil-fuel subsidies when the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development released it last fall. The report detailed all the subtle and not-so-subtle supports for production and consumption of oil, coal, and natural gas in 24 nations, including the world’s most advanced economies—all…

Natural Gas for Cars

Does it make climate sense to drive cars with natural gas? Our nation appears to be rapidly moving to a natural gas-powered economy. Advances in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling have made huge deposits of natural gas in shale and tight sands commercially viable. (See “Hydrofracturing: An Energy Revolution.”) Suddenly the United States is…

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released long-awaited greenhouse gas rules for new power plants this week. Using the Clean Air Act, the agency standard would set the first national limits on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions new power plants can emit. The EPA proposed the rule after delaying it several times since July 2011. Power plants are the largest…

Over the past decade, plans for 160 new coal fired power plants in the United States have been scrapped, largely due to rising costs and an inability to compete in today’s energy markets. That’s because the cost of once-“expensive” clean energy has fallen dramatically, while “cheap” fossil fuels are increasingly expensive in economic, health, and…

After public pressure, Chicago will shut two aging coal-fired power plants, and the owner of one of the power plants, Midwest Generation, may shut its other four coal plants in Illinois. Since the start of 2010, more than 100 coal plants have been slated for early retirement. A major reason for coal plants shutting has been public opposition to…

Big Bend National Park is known for its beauty — and its haze problem. So it might come as a surprise to some that it recently earned the designation of a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park. The designation makes the 801,000-acre (324,153-hectare) West Texas park, which borders the Rio Grande, one of only 10…

Highlights from a workshop on the environmental and social implications of fracking. A group of the nation’s leading experts on energy and the environment are at Duke this week attending a workshop to try to ferret out the facts (and tamp down the hype) around shale gas and fracking, the controversial method for extracting natural…

In North Korea’s capital city of Pyongyang, pictured above last year on May Day, light radiates from Juche Tower, the monument built to commemorate the 70th birthday of ruler Kim Il Sung in 1982. But that power did not flow to the nation’s people. Among the deprivations that marked the nuclear-armed era of Kim’s son,…

There’s some rare good news on the energy pollution front, confirmed by groundbreaking new use of satellite imagery. Emissions of sulfur dioxide, the acid rain precursor that ravages respiratory health, have fallen in half since 2005 over what has been one of the most coal-heavy areas of the eastern United States, reported scientists using the…