“Coal by 2030 will be the most widely used fuel worldwide.”
Read more at the Washington Times.
Let’s ignore the carbon issue because nearly all JunkScience readers know that human production of CO2 has too small a role in climate or weather to worry about.
Coal burns dirty with real dirt — particulates mostly, possibly some mercury and lead, carbon monoxide. As I understand what I’ve read, the mercury, lead and CO are negligible, having no history of causing health problems or measurable damage to ecosystems. The particulates, which would also come from burning wood, are a different matter. Haze and smoke are real pollution.
We have excellent controls for reducing the pollution from burning coal; another layer would probably be pointless in most US, European or Japanese plants, regardless of the EPA’s intended Maximum Achievable Technology Standard, I think it’s called.
If we can transition to methane as a more economical energy source and ship our coal, we may also be able to ship our pollution control technology. Some of the talk about Asia’s pollution is apocalyptic nonsense but some of it is legitimate.
We may also soon find a way of making useful transport fuel out of coal and methane, which beats the heck out of making transport fuel out of corn or wheat. I know there’s a lot of work done in that area already but I gather it costs rather more than fracking or oil sand extraction.
As a bonus, this would marginalize the petro-terror financial support. I could get enthused about that.
The world converted its ships from coal to oil a century ago. No reason to go back. Not now. Maybe in 300 years.
The petro-terror financial support is political and not based on actual demands. The US has enough coal, gas and oil to be self-sufficient, but we are not allowed to use it. We buy from dictators instead because there’s a political agenda involved. New technology may not help–the politics will still be in place.
Coal is dirty–and the ash left has to be dealt with. Changing to natural gas or nuclear creates less waste. At some point, we may find an economically feasible way to process coal to a cleaner fuel. That would be good.
I guess the chants of “King Coal is dead” were a bit premature?
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