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Activists want new coal plants banned outright
In Warsaw last month, Christiana Figueres, an unelected United Nations bureaucrat, demanded that the World Coal Association embrace three dubious and implausible ideas. This industry must, she said, shut down a particular class of coal plant, install as-yet-unavailable carbon-capture technology on any newly constructed facilities, and “leave most existing reserves in the ground.”
In the first instance, the implications of her words weren’t immediately apparent. But a 2012 International Energy Agency report reveals that when she speaks blithely of closing “all existing subcritical plants,” she’s advocating the mothballing of 100% of South Africa’s coal fleet, 99% of India’s, 97% of Poland’s, and 90% of Australia’s.
It turns out Figueres’ standards are so pie-in-the-sky that 79% of Germany’s coal facilities, 75% of China’s, 73% of America’s, and 71% of Russia’s don’t make the cut, either. All told, this UN official believes three-quarters of the world’s existing coal fleet — fully one third of the global electricity supply — should be taken offline. Continue Reading →