- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
Coal is used to produce half of the electricity consumed in the United States. Demand for energy is expected to grow by 40 percent by 2030. The Bush administration forecasts that 6,000 megawatts of additional coal-fired capacity is needed every year to meet that demand.
However, coal is believed to be a leading source of greenhouse gases and causing global warming. Of over 150 announced plans to build new coal-fired power plants, only 15 have been built since 2002, generating a total of 3,700 megawatts. At least 16 power plant proposals totaling nearly 14,000 megawatts have been scrapped due to political pressure.
This can be compared to plans in China to add a new coal-fired power plant at the rate of nearly one per week over the next decade. Emissions from these plants alone are predicted to nullify the cuts made by Europe, Japan and other countries under the Kyoto Treaty according to a report from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.
Attempts to clean up coal have largely been unsuccessful. Technology to reduce or cut out CO2 emissions is expensive and years away from widespread commercial use. As the collision between demand and supply grows closer, activists claim the only solution is to reduce consumption.