King Coal's crown is losing some luster
In the US, plans to add coal-fired power plants are curtailed, as environmental and political opposition builds.
Because of its link to carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas causing global warming, coal sometimes seems like the Rodney Dangerfield of energy sources: It gets no respect.
In recent days, there's been a new report on the dirtiest power plants in the United States, Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) has said he opposes new coal-fired power plants in his home state of Nevada, and an increasing number of proposed plants reportedly are either being canceled or delayed. A new Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) report, meanwhile, finds that "a significant reduction of carbon emissions is possible" in burning coal for power, but "only when a significant price is placed on CO2 emissions."
The report on dirty power plants comes from the Environmental Integrity Project, a research and advocacy group in Washington founded by the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory enforcement office. Among the report's findings:
"… the carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution linked to global warming from large, old, and inefficient electricity-generating facilities continues unchecked and could rise 34 percent by 2030...."
In its coverage of the report, the Environment News Service notes that 50 plants identified as the worst polluters – out of the 378 largest US power plants in the study – are scattered around the country.
"The 12 states with the heaviest concentrations of the dirtiest power plants, in terms of total tons of carbon dioxide emitted, are – Texas, which has five, including two of the top 10 dirtiest plants; Pennsylvania with four; Indiana with four, including two of the top 10 dirtiest plants; Alabama with three; Georgia with three, including two of the top three dirtiest plants; North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia have three apiece; while Wyoming, Florida, Kentucky and New Mexico each have two."