The Contra Costa Times has a good perspective on how we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and maintain a balanced energy mix. California gets little of its electricity from coal power, but also has the ninth highest energy prices in the nation.
Coal-powered plants provide half of the world’s electricity, 46 percent of the electricity in the United States and 70 percent of China’s.
Even the most optimistic projections of the development of solar and wind power have them producing less than 15 percent of America’s or China’s energy needs.
Coal will be with us because it is abundant, cheap and is located in the nations that use it. The top four coal-reserve countries are the United States, Russia, China, and India, which together have 40 percent of the world’s population and more than 60 percent of its coal.
The good news is that there really is such a thing as “clean coal.” That may seem like a contradiction, but the United States and China have been cooperating for several years on developing coal-burning plants that prevent almost all of the carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
You’ve heard a lot from us about the continuing advances of clean coal technology, and have seen the data showing the huge reductions in emissions from coal-powered electricity. By continuing on this path and nurturing the researchers working on these advancements, we can reduce emissions further while keeping the foundation of our economy strong.
All efforts to produce cleaner energy must continue, including the use of solar, wind, nuclear and someday fusion power. But, at least for the next few decades, preventing carbon dioxide levels from rising to more dangerous levels will depend heavily on developing and building clean coal power plants.