Bangladesh to Expand Coal Capabilities to Meet Growing Energy Needs

by Aurora Brachman

Bangladesh has plans to dramatically expand its energy production through coal in the next few years with the assistance of China, Japan, and India. But has not indicated any plans to expand renewable energy development. Other Asian nations have been setting their sights on renewable forms of energy because of an increasingly worsening pollution crisis in the region. The government hopes to expand its use of coal from 2% to 50% of Bangladesh’s electricity supply by 2022. There have been vehement protests about this expansion, particularly against a specific plant currently under construction; several people have lost their lives amidst the protests. Continue reading

China’s Coal Mining Hypocrisy

by Vikramaditya Jhunjhunwala

In light of President Trump’s uncertain stance on climate change, China has assumed the leading role in battling it. In an attempt to mobilize global initiative, China has publically implored its powerhouse compatriots, such as the United States, to acknowledge the science behind the phenomenon, and reduce their dependence on harmful fuels like coal and oil.

However, Keith Bradsher (2016), tells us of a troubling and rather ironic narrative of China mining and burning increased quantities of coal.

Even though there was a dip in production by 3 percent last year in a governmental effort to mitigate pollution and rising sea levels, Chinese coal is still the planet’s greatest source of carbon emission from human activities and the reopening of mines spells all kinds of environment-related troubles. Continue reading

China in Transition-Searching for Sustainability

by Dominique Curtis

Coal is 66% of China’s total energy consumption leading China to be one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. In a recent journal article, Xiaoxia Zhou explains how China’s growing economy, urbanization, and industrialization come at the steep cost of environmental pollution and the exhaustion of China’s natural resources. Researchers, policy makers, scientists, and politics in China are scrambling to find a solution to these problems. They are making progress. China’s energy development plan states that by 2020 their non-fossil energy will rise from it’s current 9.8% to 15% (Guo, 2016). The question up for debate now is how? Outsiders suggest they should just go green and follow in the footsteps of other countries, but I think China is worried about a different kind of green. Continue reading

Reforming the US Coal Leasing Program

by Emil Morhardt

Almost half of the coal mined in the US comes from lands, mostly in Wyoming and Montana in the Powder River Basin (PRB), owned by the federal government and which have nearly 10% of the world’s known reserves. Gillingham et al. review the social costs of this coal extraction, and weigh them against the revenues flowing to the government from the leases and the resulting relatively low energy prices paid by consumers. According to their calculations, the monetized climate change damages caused by combustion of this coal are about six times the coal price of $0.51 per million British thermal units, which is only about a third of the price of coal from other major producing basins. Continue reading

Last Ditch Effort to Block Clean Power Plan

by Katy Schaefer

In August of 2015, the Obama Administration finalized what has come to be known as the Clean Power Plan. This controversial plan aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. Each site would have different requirements of how, and how much it needs to reduce, but plans for how to meet this goal must be submitted in 2016. If everything goes well, implementation is expected to begin by 2022. However, 27 states, led by West Virginia have a problem with this plan, and are doing everything they can to stop it in its tracks. Continue reading

Indiana Coal Power Company Makes Deal With Environmental Groups

by Kevin Tidmarsh

A long and protracted battle between environmentalists and the owners of a coal plant in southern Indiana may finally be coming to a close. The settlement, which was reached among Duke Energy Indiana, the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, and various environmental groups in the state, will offer ratepayers refunds totaling $87.5 million for charges incurred during the startup and testing phases of the power plant of the coal plant located in Edwardsport, Indiana, as well as include $1 million for low-income assistance and community solar power grants. Continue reading

How the Clean Power Plan May Actually Become America’s First Real Clean Energy Law

by Jesse Crabtree

The Clean Power Plan is an attempt by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and President Barack Obama to reduce carbon emissions from US power plants. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, power plants make up 40% of all U.S. carbon emissions—more than all our cars and planes combined. The plan seeks to cut energy carbon emissions 30% by 2030, a number that some are calling “ambitious” or as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says, a form of climate radicalism. On the other hand, many followers of the plan have argued that the plan is actually quite weak in its goals. According to Polito.com, market shifts towards renewable energy, towards low-carbon natural gas, and a general reduction in electricity demand have already brought the U.S. almost halfway to that goal of 30%. Continue reading

Samsø Inspiration

by Chloe Rodman

New York Times’ Diane Cardwell (2015) writes about the impact that Samso, a 44 square-foot island off the coast of Denmark, has been making in regards to clean energy production. A majority of the island’s 3,800 citizens decided that they no longer wanted to rely on foreign, costly fossil fuels. Rather, they made it their goal to become completely powered by green energy. This $80 million project has resulted in 10 wind turbines as well as solar, geothermal and plant- based energy systems. These four methods have allowed the island to thrive, producing more energy than it consumes. Samso, which used to be primarily dependent on coal and diesel, has become a role model for many other islands around the globe, which are also striving to wean off of fossil fuels. The Samso Energy Academy was created to educate others about new forms of green energy. Many individuals are sent to the academy to learn about the island’s methods and return home to teach their own communities about the changes they can make. Continue reading

Mitigating Coal Use in South Africa

 

by Monkgogi Bonolo Otlhogile

South Africa has been cited as one of the most energy intensive countries in Africa due to its large mining sector and it has been difficult to tackle carbon dioxide emissions as mining contributes to 60% of South Africa’s exports (World Development Indicators, 2012).The biggest problem for South Africa has come in the form of its coal reserves, which are the largest in Africa. South Africa relies on its coal reserves for 67% of its energy use, which has resulted in South Africa becoming one of the largest carbon dioxide emitters in the world, alongside its fellow BRICS nations (World Development Indicators, 2012). However, Eskom, South Africa’s public electricity utility company, has begun investing in renewable energy and has plans for three wind farms across South Africa (2014). In the mean time, Eskom and scholars alike have been trying to promote energy efficiency and the divestment of large industries from coal. 

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