It takes a lot of fuel to heat our homes, preserve our food, and power our gadgets. And for 40 percent of the world, cheap, plentiful coal gets the job done. But coal also releases pollutants into the air, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, soot, and toxic metals, like mercury.  These pollutants cause environmental damage like acid rain and serious health problems. Can we create a cleaner version of coal? 

For three ways we might strip coal of its foul forces, view the TED-Ed Lesson How to create cleaner coal - Emma Bryce

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The Navajo Nation stretches for almost 30,000 miles across parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Treaties signed in the 1800s split the Navajo territory, leaving them to live in desert terrain considered ‘worthless’ by the United States government. But, this same land was discovered to be extremely rich in natural resources.

Between the old treaties and US government red tape, the Navajo Indians have little control over gas, coal, and even their own water. Today, more than 40% of its 30,000 residents are without running water or even electricity. The Navajo people believe they are custodians of the elements that surround them—the sky, the wind, the earth, and most sacred of all, water. Maintaining harmony with the environment is at the core of their culture.

A desert land once judged uninhabitable and ‘worthless’ has proved instead to be rich, but its loyal Navajo custodians still don’t have the means nor the rights to profit from or protect their environment.

(Text/Video via: Nina Donaghy/CNTV)

Shift Happens: 'Renewable Energy Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels in Australia'

“The perception that fossil fuels are cheap and renewables are expensive is now out of date”, said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “The fact that wind power is now cheaper than coal and gas in a country with some of the world’s best fossil fuel resources shows that clean energy is a game changer which promises to turn the economics of power systems on its head,” he said.

Rolling Coal: Conservatives modify trucks to spew toxic black smoke as a way to vent anti-EPA/anti-Obama animus

Conservatives who detest President Barack Obama and EPA clean air regulations are modifying their vehicles to purposefully spew black smoke into the atmosphere.

So-called “coal rollers” install smoke stacks and special equipment in their diesel trucks that makes the engine think that it needs more fuel, resulting in plumes of black smoke.

According to Slate’s Dave Weigel, the phenomenon is not new, but it is becoming more popular among conservatives who want to protest the president and his efforts to clean up the environment.

“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all,” a smoke stack seller in Wisconsin told Weigel. “If he’s into the environment, if he’s into this or that, we’re not. I hear a lot of that.”

“To get a single stack on my truck—that’s my way of giving them the finger,” he added. “You want clean air and a tiny carbon footprint? Well, screw you.”

In June, Vocativ reported on the trend of “coal rollers” using their toxic exhaust as revenge against “nature nuffies” who drive environmentally friendly cars, like the Toyota Prius.

“The feeling around here is that everyone who drives a small car is a liberal,” a South Carolina truck owner named Ryan explained. “I rolled coal on a Prius once just because they were tailing me.”

“It’s bad for the environment. That’s definitely true,” he admitted. “And some of the kids that have diesel trucks can look like tools. And you can cause a wreck, but everything else about it is pretty good.”

The Clean Air Task Force estimates that pollutants from diesel vehicles “lead to 21,000 premature deaths each year and create a cancer risk that is seven times greater than the combined risk of all 181 other air toxics tracked by the EPA.”

This is more proof that the right wing losers will do anything under the sun to pollute the air with rolling coal in the name of irritating the hell out of Obama/liberals/progressives/EPA and hybrid car drivers.

h/t: David Edwards at The Raw Story

Groups Expose UK for Subsidizing Biomass and ‘Clean Coal’ as Renewable Energy

Campaigners representing groups working on issues of opencast coal and biomass have jointly called on Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) yesterday to end to subsidies and industry support for Drax Power Station.

The statement follows an announcement by DECC and Drax claiming that “Britain’s largest coal-fired power station is set to become one of Europe’s biggestrenewable electricity generators, with the potential for new future generation on the site to be based on truly clean coal.”

The DECC announcement has been described as “misleading greenwash” by groups working on issues of opencast coal mining and bioenergy.

“What DECC aren’t telling the public is that Drax’s half conversion to biomass, as well as being responsible for trashing ancient forests in the southern U.S., will extend the life of the other half of the power station which will continue to be fed on coal mined in Colombia, Russia and the UK.” 

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SINCE 1974, federal relocation policy has forced 14,000 Dine’ (Navajo) people from their ancestral homeland in Arizona. This genocidal policy was crafted by government agents and energy company representatives in order to gain access to the mineral resources of Black Mesa – billions of tons of coal, uranium and natural gas.

For over 30 years, traditional Dine’ at Black Mesa have lived in resistance, steadfastly refusing to relocate as strip-mines rip apart their sacred lands and generating plants poison the desert air.

(Text via:  Black Mesa Indigenous Support – Video via: Rob Rosenfeld)

There was a time when renewable energy was expensive and its doubters were justified in saying, “Well, it may be cleaner, but how can people afford it?” These days, that argument looks silly. Renewables are getting cheaper all the time and, in some cases, they already match prices for traditional power.

The price of solar, in particular, has fallen precipitously. Six years ago, the average rooftop module was about 75% dearer than it is today. All indications show that it’s likely to keep falling in price, because that’s what generally happens with technologies as they mature.

How much does solar cost today? In about 30 countries, it’s already cheaper than grid electricity, according to a new Deutsche Bank analysis, and in some cases, a lot cheaper. In other places, solar is set to reach “grid parity” by 2017 assuming modest (3%) increases in conventional power and ongoing cost falls in solar power. Eighty percent of the world’s largest markets could see grid parity by 2017, according to DB’s analyst Vishal Shah.


Deceptive Ads On Coal And Fracking Are Being Called Out

First, a coal company’s ads were ruled misleading for touting the myth of “clean coal.”

Now, fracking:

The ASA has found that an ad run in UK newspaper The Telegraph in February, was misleading, reports the Guardian.

The ad … claimed the Britain suffered from a “near-catastrophic” gas shortage in early 2013 and that fracking could offer “decades worth of natural gas,” “millions of pounds in tax revenues,” “freedom from interruptions and stoppages as a result of Russia’s political games with your gas supply,” “lowering energy prices for millions,” and “reducing greenhouse emissions by replacing coal with natural gas for energy.”

After a reader complained that the ad exaggerated the gas shortage, that the benefits of fracking were unknown, and that Russia didn’t provide any of the UK’s gas supply, the ASA investigated and found against Breitling on all the charges. It told Breitling not to run any ads in the future without hard evidence.

Trump hires climate change deniers to run his EPA transition team & calls coal “clean.”  

TAKE ACTION: http://climatetruth.org/dumptrump 


Back in 2010, the Greens Senators sharing a moment of intimacy after fighting so hard to see the passing of the Carbon Tax.

The repeal today is a sad step back.  Over the world there are more than 1000 climate change policies, including:

Saudia Arabia: $100b investment in solar energy

South Korea: Carbon Pricing which it got through with bipartisan support

China: Clean Coal Technology and trialing ETS in select cities as well as massive investment in renewable

NZ: Emission Trading Scheme well before anyone else

Germany: $263 billion investment in renewables and a goal to be 100% renewable by 2050

European Union: ETS Scheme

The list goes on. Even the US is moving forward. It is sad that a country as rich as Australia does not have a clear climate change policy and a leadership that steadfastly refuses to listen to literally every leading scientific body. This is beyond embarrassing.

BREAKING: #SCOTUS Deals Setback to President Obama’s #CleanPowerPlan Regulations
The justices’ willingness to issue a stay while the case proceeds was a hint that the emissions program could face a skeptical reception.
By Adam Liptak

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily blocked the Obama administration’s effort to combat climate change by regulating emissions from coal-fired power plants. The brief order was not the last word on the case, which is most likely to return to the Supreme Court after an appeals court considers an expedited challenge from 29 states and dozens of corporations and industry groups.

But the Supreme Court’s willingness to issue a stay while the case proceeds was an early hint that the program could face a skeptical reception from the justices.

The vote was 5 to 4.

The challenged regulation, which was issued last summer by the Environmental Protection Agency, requires states to make major cuts to greenhouse gas pollution created by electric power plants, the nation’s largest source of such emissions. The plan could transform the nation’s electricity system, cutting emissions from existing power plants by a third by 2030, from a 2005 baseline, by closing hundreds of heavily polluting coal-fired plants and increasing production of wind and solar power.

“Climate change is the most significant environmental challenge of our day, and it is already affecting national public health, welfare and the environment,” Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. wrote in a brief urging the Supreme Court to reject a request for a stay while the case moves forward.

The regulation calls for states to submit plans to comply with the regulation by September, though they may seek a two-year extension. The first deadline for power plants to reduce their emissions is in 2022, with full compliance not required until 2030.

The states challenging the regulation, led mostly by Republicans and many with economies that rely on coal mining or coal-fired power, sued to stop what they called “the most far-reaching and burdensome rule the E.P.A. has ever forced onto the states.” A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in January unanimously refused to grant a stay. The court did expedite the case and will hear arguments on June 2, which is fast by the standards of complex litigation.

The states urged the Supreme Court to take immediate action to block what they called a “power grab” under which “the federal environmental regulator seeks to reorganize the energy grids in nearly every state in the nation.” Though the plan’s first emission reduction obligations do not take effect until 2022, the states said they had already started to spend money and shift resources to get ready.

Eighteen states, mostly led by Democrats, opposed the request for a stay, saying they were “continuing to experience climate-change harms firsthand — including increased flooding, more severe storms, wildfires and droughts.” Those harms are “lasting and irreversible,” they said, and “any stay that results in further delay in emissions reductions would compound the harms that climate change is already causing.”

In a second filing seeking a stay, coal companies and trade associations represented by Laurence H. Tribe, a law professor at Harvard, said the court should act to stop a “targeted attack on the coal industry” that will “artificially eliminate buyers of coal, forcing the coal industry to curtail production, idle operations, lay off workers and close mines.”

The E.P.A., represented by Mr. Verrilli, called the requests for a stay “extraordinary and unprecedented.” The states challenging the administration’s plan, he said, could point to no case in which the Supreme Court had “granted a stay of a generally applicable regulation pending initial judicial review in the court of appeals.” In a later brief, the states conceded that point.

Mr. Verrilli said judicial review of the plan, including by the Supreme Court, will be complete before the first deadline for emissions reductions in 2022.

“There is no reason to suppose that states’ duties under the rule will be especially onerous,” Mr. Verrilli wrote. “A state can elect not to prepare a plan at all, but instead may allow E.P.A. to develop and implement a federal plan for sources in that state.”

The two sides differed about whether current declines in coal mining and coal-fired power generation are attributable to the administration’s plan. “Some of the nation’s largest coal companies have declared bankruptcy, due in no small part to the rule,” a group of utilities told the justices.

Mr. Tribe added that the plan “will cause the closure of 53 coal-fired plants in 2016 and another three in 2018.”

A coalition of environmental groups and companies that produce and rely on wind and solar power said other factors were to blame for coal’s decline.

“These changes include the abundant supply of relatively inexpensive natural gas, the increasing cost-competitiveness of electricity from renewable generation sources such as solar and wind power, the deployment of low-cost energy efficiency and other demand-side measures, and increasing consumer demand for advanced energy, as well as the rising costs of coal production and the high costs of maintaining very old coal-fired plants,” they wrote.

H/T: Adam Liptak at New York Times


How Mercury Poisoning works.  PDF 
Mercury poisoning from coal plants can be prevented by installing cost-effective scrubbers to reduce mercury emissions. Many responsible American coal plant operators have already taken this step.But coal plants in the United States still spew 386,000 tons of hazardous air pollution into the atmosphere.

New EPA regulations to restrict mercury emissions are being considered–and should be supported.Join Moms Clean Air Force by signing up in the sidebar to let Washington know that mercury poisoning is unacceptable. No child should be born already damaged by mercury poisoning from coal. For more science on how mercury ions actually alter the cell membrane structure of developing neurons, please go to : X

Everything You Need to Know About the Crisis That's Burying Coal for Good
The further we progress into the 21st century, the more it seems like coal's heyday has passed. Since 2012, more than 50 coal companies have gone bankrupt.

“With this decision President Obama sent a clear signal to coal companies, and their investors, that the days of dumping their pollution onto the American public are ending,” said Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica in a statement.

Pica’s words are not just hot air either. Since July, four major U.S. coal producers have filed for bankruptcy: Walter Energy Inc., Alpha Natural Resources Inc., Patriot Coal, and most recently Arch Coal, the second largest coal producer in the country. Since 2012, more than 50 coal companies have filed for bankruptcy.

While the downward trajectory may seem to be getting clearer, it is yet to make an impression on some of those most invested in coal mining. National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Quinn called the Obama administration’s action the latest move in their ‘Beyond Jobs’ campaign.