Disheartening news:

America’s gas boom has prompted its coal miners to seek new export markets, sending prices plunging on world markets. So long as consumers do not pay for coal’s horrible side-effects, that makes it irresistibly cheap. In Germany power from coal now costs half the price of watts from a gas-fired power station. It is a paradox that coal is booming in a country that in other respects is the greenest in Europe. Its production of power from cheap, dirty brown coal (lignite) is now at 162 billion kilowatt hours, the highest since the days of the decrepit East Germany.

Japan, too, is turning to coal in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. On April 11th the government approved a new energy plan entrenching its role as a long-term electricity source.

The article also notes how costly coal with carbon capture and storage is, with a $5.2 billion power plant in Mississippi costing nearly seven times as much as a gas plant with equivalent output.

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Working Group I of the IPCC has released a nine-minute video summarizing the science in the first part of the latest assessment report:

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Today, the radio program Democracy Now! featured Bill McKibben, talking about the 350.org divestment campaign. There is information about it on their website.

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Bad news on coal

by Milan on November 25, 2012

in Coal mining, Power plants

BBC: Coal resurgence calls undermine clean energy commitments

Related: The World Falls Back In Love With Coal

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Mark Jacobson’s bold plan for renewables

November 5, 2012

This is a talk given by Mark Jacobson from Stanford, entitled: “A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables” His slides are also available.

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Dauvergne on consumption

September 18, 2012

“On many measures, policies, actions, and technologies to shape consumption appear to be “improving” environmental management. But too often the measures are close-up snapshots that cut out a much bigger, more complex, global picture of crisis. One common set of measures zooms in on consumer use of a product. Here, it is easy to and […]

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Upcoming climate change fast

September 17, 2012

Possibly of interest: 2012 climate change fast

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Gardiner on our interests and obligations

September 5, 2012

“The dominant reason for acting on climate change is not that it would make us better off. It is that not acting involves taking advantage of the poor, the future, and nature. We can hope that refraining from such exploitation is good (or at least not too bad) for us, especially in terms of current […]

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Climate change and status quo bias

September 4, 2012

One perpetual question in climate politics is whether radical political change is necessary to achieve climatic stability, or whether the necessary energy transition can be achieved in a ‘stealthy’ technocratic way. This question is linked to the general question about radical versus incremental change, which is in turn touched upon in Sam Harris’ The Moral […]

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Climate change and democratic legitimacy

August 29, 2012

The ordinary understanding of the legitimacy of democratic governments is that their authority derives from a popular mandate; the government can legitimately impose laws on citizens because those citizens have the ability to replace the government if they choose. The argument that popular consent makes the decisions of democratic governments legitimate is based on the […]

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