Coal’s Future Assured in Asia … Or IS It?

A New York Times article today is headlined:  With China and India Ravenous for Energy, Coal’s Future Seems Assured however it ends with an almost passing comment about the opposition in the NW to coal exports and a quote from a researcher at the Sightline Institute and this may be the real story!

“Plans to ship coal 1,500 miles by rail to five planned new ports in the Pacific Northwest and Canada face intense environmental opposition.

“The trains are noisy and will let off a lot of coal dust,” said Eric de Place, senior researcher with the Sightline Institute, a public policy research group headquartered in Seattle.

Still, in the longer term coal’s future depends on China and India, and its prospects look bright — mainly because it is cheaper than its competitors.”

The author appears to not have sufficiently considered the size and potential of this opposition in the Northwest nor the impacts that the nascent 350.org and Bill McKibben’s Do the Math tour will have.  It is worth reading the article to get a sense of what some continue to perceive as the future of coal.  There will be a lot of work to do to stop this “cheap” fossil fuel.   The only thing that allows it to be “cheap” is that the cost benefit analysis has not included the environmental, health, and climate change  costs.

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