It seems like almost every week there’s news about U.S. and Chinese advancements in clean coal technologies. As two of the largest economies in the world, our countries have formed a strong partnership to develop these technologies so we can enjoy the economic benefits of a reliable, affordable energy base while reducing emissions. This relationship between America and China is growing stronger, especially with yesterday’s announcement that the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center has now been put into operation with more than $150 million in initial funds. This comes on the heels of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s visit to the largest power plant in Shanghai yesterday, which is using a demonstration carbon capture facility to trap and use carbon dioxide emissions for commercial use.
Today on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” James Bennet, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, discussed the fact that coal accounts for nearly half of America’s power and that there’s “real progress” on advanced clean coal technologies like carbon capture and storage, being developed here and in China, allowing power plants to reduce emissions while using one of the world’s most reliable sources of energy.
The story is explained in depth in The Atlantic’s cover story this month, by James Fallows. Fallows outlines coal’s importance in securing a future in which our energy is clean, sustainable and affordable. According to him, coal can and must be used through clean coal technologies if we are to have any hope of achieving energy and environmental security:
“[T]wo ideas that underlie the term [clean coal] are taken with complete seriousness by businesses, scientists, and government officials in China and America, and are the basis of the most extensive cooperation now under way between the countries on climate issues. One is that coal can be used in less damaging, more sustainable ways that it is now. The other is that it must be used in those ways, because there is no plausible other way to meet what will be, absent an economic or social cataclysm, the world’s unavoidable energy demands.”
If you’re a long-time reader of Behind the Plug, you know that with industry and government’s investments, capital and human resources, we are reaching toward commercial-scale carbon capture and storage technologies. People like Dan Connell of Consol Energy are implementing technology that will help reduce emissions, while securing affordable energy and good jobs for our children and grandchildren.