Whole lotta good news goin' on here, folks. As you may know, burning coal to generate electricity is the #1 cause of global warming in the USA... We were thrilled to see this headline:
"U.S. MOVING TOWARD BAN ON NEW COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS"
by Lester Brown, Feb. 14, 2008, Earth Policy Institute
In a report compiled early 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy listed 151 coal-fired power plants in the planning stages and talked of a resurgence in coal-fired electricity. But today, 59 of 2006's proposed coalplant projects have either been refused licenses by their local governments or quietly abandoned. In addition, close to 50 more plants are being contested in court, and the remaining plants will likely be challenged before they reach permitting.
The principal reason for the opposition is mounting concerns about climate change, soaring construction costs, and intensifying health concerns about mercury emissions. 23,600 U.S. citizens die each year from coal power plant pollution. (See data - www.earthpolicy.org/Updates/2008/Update70_data.htm.")
The Good News - Citizen Actions
What began as local ripples of resistance against dirty/hot power, is evolving into a national tidal wave. The public is turning out against coal, led by community organizations. In a September 2007 poll of Americans, only 3% of citizens chose coal over clean/green options.
The Good News - State Actions
The state of Texas has shifted its future planning from 17 coal plants (2007) to 23,000 megawatts of new wind generation (2008), equal to 23 coal-fired power plants. Florida’s Governor Crist (R), keenly aware of his state's vulnerability to rising seas, is actively opposing new coal plants, having announced plans his state will build the world’s largest solar-thermal power plant.
More broadly, states working to reduce carbon emissions are discouraging other states from building new coal plants. A new awareness that any new plants would cancel out neighboring states's carbon reduction efforts prompted the attorneys general of California, Wisconsin & New York to write to Kansas health officials urging them to deny permits for two new coal power plants. (Permits were subsequently denied.) More recently, a letter from a similar grouping of states urged South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control to refuse a 600-megawatt coal plant.
The Good News - Wall Street
Coal’s future is also suffering as Wall Street turns its back on the industry. In July 2007, Citigroup downgraded coal company stocks across the board and recommended its clients switch to other energy stocks. In January 2008, Merrill Lynch also downgraded coal stocks. In early February (2008) Morgan Stanley, Citi, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Bank of America announced that any future lending for coal-fired power would be contingent on economic viability in light of the higher costs associated with federal restrictions on carbon emissions.
The Good News - Federal Actions
In August 2007, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada announced that he is now against building coal-fired power plants anywhere in the world. In November, Representative Henry Waxman of California announced his intention to “introduce legislation that establishes a moratorium on the approval of new coal-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act until EPA finalizes regulations to address the greenhouse gas emissions from these sources.” If a national moratorium is passed by Congress, it will mark the beginning of the end for coal-fired power in the United States.
The Good News
NASA’s James Hansen has said it makes no sense to build coal-fired power plants when we will have to bulldoze them in a few years... Americans are listening, understanding, and changing the world.
*Special thanks to the amazing Lester Brown & The Earth Policy Institute for allowing us to edit & reprint this article.
Thanks for reading -
Have a great March, visit the store, & See you next month, on The Good News.