The Green Book
Where the Wild Things Were
How Conservation Efforts are Faltering
The Globalization of Animal Welfare
More Food Does Not Require More Suffering
Africa’s Anti-Poaching Problem
How Wildlife Trade Bans Are Failing the Continent's Animals
How Technology Is Transforming Conservation
Animal Rights, Animal Wrongs
The Case for Nonhuman Personhood
The Day the Earth Ran Out
The Causes and Consequences of Earth Overshoot Day
Environmental Alarmism, Then and Now
The Club of Rome’s Problem—and Ours
Is Growth Good?
Resources, Development, and the Future of the Planet
No Wars for Water
Why Climate Change Has Not Led to Conflict
The Devolution of the Seas
The Consequences of Oceanic Destruction
How Yemen Chewed Itself Dry
Farming Qat, Wasting Water
Suicide By Drought
How China is Destroying Its Own Water Supply
A Light in the Forest
Brazil's Fight to Save the Amazon and Climate-Change Diplomacy
The Reincarnation Machine
From Cars to Skyscrapers, Indiana to Shandong
The Great Leap Backward?
Pollution Without Revolution
Why China's Environmental Crisis Won't Bring Down the Regime
Harder to Breathe
India's Pollution Crisis—And What To Do About It
Why We Still Need Nuclear Power
Making Clean Energy Safe and Affordable
Tough Love for Renewable Energy
Making Wind and Solar Power Affordable
Cleaning Up Coal
From Climate Culprit to Solution
Don't Just Drill, Baby -- Drill Carefully
How to Make Fracking Safer for the Environment
How Chinese Innovation is Changing Green Technology
Beijing's Big Gamble on Renewables
The First Cold War
The Environmental Lessons of the Little Ice Age
The Geoengineering Option
A Last Resort Against Global Warming?
The Truth About Geoengineering
Science Fiction and Science Fact
The Climate Threat We Can Beat
What It Is and How to Deal With It
How Big Business Can Save the Climate
Multinational Corporations Can Succeed Where Governments Have Failed
Coal, the rock that fueled the industrial age, is once again remaking the global energy landscape. Over the past decade, while most of the world stood transfixed by the gyrations of the oil markets, the promise of alternative energy, and the boom in cheap natural gas, coal left all other forms of energy in its dust, contributing nearly as much total energy to the global economy as every other source combined.
That explosive increase in coal use came not from the developed world, where demand is plateauing, but from the developing world, where the fuel remains the cheapest, most reliable source of electricity. This year, the market in globally traded coal used to generate electricity is expected to reach 850 megatons -- twice the total in 2000. If current trends continue, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), China and India alone will drive 75 percent of the growth in coal demand before 2035, and coal will become the world's single largest source of energy before 2030.
But just as coal is remaking energy markets, it is also remaking the climate. Coal combustion is the world's largest source of carbon dioxide emissions, responsible for almost 13 billion tons per year. (By comparison, oil and natural gas account for 11 billion tons and 6 billion tons, respectively.) With demand for coal ballooning in Asia, between 2010 and 2035, fully half the total increase in global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel use will come from coal use in the region. The climate problem, in other words, is a coal problem.
For the last two decades, economists and diplomats have tended to favor one solution to that problem: putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions, which would allow markets to find the cheapest route to a cooler climate. But so far, doing what may be economically optimal has proved politically infeasible in most economies. Another strategy, promoting renewable power, is a necessary part of solving the climate problem but will not be enough on its own. Developing economies are adding new coal plants on
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