Category Archives: coal

The Cost of Coal

Yesterday, Jess noted a new paper in the American Economic Review: “Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy.” Brad Johnson has a longer summary here. I want to emphasize the paper’s conclusions and make a few related points. But mostly I want to beg everyone: spread this around. Coal’s net economic effects on the U.S. are poorly understood, to say the least, and this paper’s findings are stunning.

Once you strip away the econ jargon, the paper finds that electricity from coal imposes more damages on the U.S. economy than the electricity is worth. That’s right: Coal-fired power is a net value-subtracting industry. A parasite, you might say. A gigantic, blood-sucking parasite that’s enriching a few executives and shareholders at the public’s expense. #read the story

Reality: Clean Coal by the Coen Bros.

You may have seen this spot on the tellie recently – I saw it last night watching something embarassing like Hardball with Chris Matthews… but I had no idea it was the Coen brothers until I was informed by our ninjas at the We campaign. 


Plus a behind the scenes look at possible new spots on the way:


.: sign up -> We Can Solve It

.: there is no such thing as clean coal -> This Is Reality

Vulcan Projecct: Texas Takes the Cake


Here’s a map put together by scientists at Purdue University’s Vulcan Project of 2002 CO2 emissions per capita [click on the map for a high-res version]. So…is anyone surprised that Texas is the reddest state? I thought not. Interestingly, here is a map of CO2 concentration with out accounting for population density, which looks pretty much identical to a population map.  It also looks to be almost inversely proportional to the population map, which presents fairly good evidence that dense urban living is the most carbon efficient way to go.


Here’s a 2000 US Census Bureau population map for comparison:

Read the rest at WIRED, World Changing & catch an introductory video from the scientists at the Vulcan Project website.



I don’t know why anybody expected this man to have anything intelligent or productive to say on this topic this time around.

Here are the three things you need to know about Bush’s speech — the same three things you needed to know about his previous speeches on the subject:

  1. Bush’s speech is not meant to advance serious efforts to address climate change, but to thwart the efforts of others. This has been true of all three speeches he’s given — see Dan Froomkin on this. This time around, it’s meant to thwart Congressional Democrats, who show every sign of being on the verge of passing a carbon cap-and-trade bill.
  2. The targets Bush does announce would doom the planet. Last time around it was improving the “carbon intensity” of the economy — that is, releasing less CO2 per unit of GDP, even though total CO2 would continue rising. This time around, it’s “halting the growth” of U.S. emissions by 2025. By way of contrast, international folks are pushing for a peak in global emissions by 2020. If U.S. emissions keep rising until 2025 — and that’s what Bush is calling for, rising CO2 emissions for another 17 years — efforts to keep global CO2 levels below 450ppm, or even 550ppm, are futile, and unthinkable human misery lies on the horizon.
  3. The Republican Party will not accept even the weak initiatives Bush lays out. This piece in Roll Call ($ub. req’d) tells the story:

    Years after President Bush torpedoed the Kyoto global warming treaty, he is expected to outline principles this afternoon for passing legislation to reduce carbon emissions, but it’s unclear how much support he will find among Congressional Republicans.


The 2030 Challenge: No Coal


Our ninja Mark Anthony, frequent commenter here at MNP, has brought our attention to a competition being held by Architecture 2030 called ‘Face It‘. Here’s a description of the competition, from Arch 2030:

The purpose of the Reverberate Competitions is to create a message that will reverberate throughout your campus and around the country. Entrants who have watched the Face It webcast will be better informed about the importance, meaning and purpose of this message, so we encourage everyone to watch the free, half-hour webcast before creating your Competition entries.

In general, for the graphic design categories, students were asked to create a ‘No Coal’ image on their or another student’s face or body (using washable, non-toxic paints). The graphic design categories are now closed.

For the video categories, you must create a one-minute video, presenting ‘No Coal’ and the 2030 Challenge as a two-fold solution to global warming.

Now, the winners get some $$$ and published in Metropolis – which is pretty cool. Unfortunately, only students can vote – so for all our studious ninjas out there, make your choice [here’s our choice – Mark’s video – if you’d like to vote for the MNP supported video. Being an ever-conscientious ninja, Mark would like to use winnings from the competition to set up a scholarship at his high school for students interested in architecture].

Surviving the Climate Crisis

The Nation has a new issue out, with much of it dedicated to climate change and energy issues. Most of the articles are all available free of charge on their website (some are subscription only).

Topics include carbon offsets, green utilities, climate change, carbon taxes and trading, air travel, China, and more.

Follow the link below for more:

[The Nation]

Oil at $15 a barrel? Well, it’s not exaclty “oil”

Garry Anselmo is completely serious when he says that his company, Silverado Green Fuel, can produce a liquid fuel for industrial boilers that will cost about the same as oil, if oil sold for $15 a barrel

For cars, he says the company’s processes can be used to produce barrels of “oil” for car fuel that will cost about half of what conventional oil costs today, which is around $50. What’s the secret? Coal, a word that makes most people’s flesh crawl. Silverado takes low-grade coal, pulverizes it and cooks it under pressure with water until it develops a waxy coating. The waxy coal particles are then reunited with carbon-infused water removed at an earlier part of the process to make a liquid fuel. So think of it as a coal latte.

One barrel of GreenFuel costs about $6, but it takes about 2.5 barrels to provide the same energy equivalent as a barrel of oil. Hence, the $15 a barrel figure.

More at the links below: