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Mon, 2014-01-13 01:30Sharon Kelly
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New Carbon Rules for Power Plants A Missed Opportunity To Rein in Natural Gas Emissions, Critics Say

One of the linchpins of the Obama administration’s high-stakes plan to address climate change moved one step closer to implementation this week, as the EPA officially published proposed new carbon emissions standards for power plants, drawing fire from environmentalists who say the rules for natural gas power plants are too lenient.

The proposed rules cover both natural gas and coal-fired electrical plants, which are responsible for 40 percent of America’s carbon dioxide emissions.

The rules would make it virtually impossible for new coal-fired power plants to be built, unless carbon capture and sequestration technology is used, but sets standards that can be easily achieved by natural gas power plants without using any similar tools.

This has led to an outcry from environmental groups like the Center for Biological Diversity.

“If the EPA is serious about the climate crisis, it needs to be serious about reducing greenhouse pollution from all power plants — regardless of whether they are fueled by gas or coal,” Bill Snape, the senior counsel for the Center said in a statement. “The bottom line is that we can do better.”

The rules for coal plants are not expected to have much direct impact on new power plant construction plans—utilities planned to build very few coal plants even before the EPA proposed its rule.

But once they are finalized, the standards for new power plants will trigger a key clause of the Clean Air Act, and the EPA will next be required to create similar carbon dioxide emissions guidelines that would govern the existing 6,500 coal and natural gas power plants nationwide.

It’s important because it establishes the form that these regulations will take,” John Coequyt, of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign told ThinkProgress.

The EPA move is part of Mr. Obama’s overall climate strategy, which disappointed many observers who criticize its support of fracking and its underwhelming effectiveness. “The Obama administration is aiming for reductions by 2020,” Brad Plumer wrote in the Washington Post’s Wonkblog earlier this week. “But that's not nearly enough to avert a 2°C rise in temperatures, which is the broader goal.”  

Mr. Obama’s climate plan calls for a heavy reliance on natural gas, which produces roughly 50 to 60 percent as much carbon dioxide as coal when burned, to help transition away from coal. But there is strong evidence that natural gas, which is primarily composed of the powerful greenhouse gas methane, may be worse for the climate than coal. The Obama climate plan, in that case, would represent a move from the frying pan into the fire.

Thu, 2013-10-24 11:51Indra Das
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Koch Brothers' Tar Sands Waste Petcoke Piles Spread to Chicago

Chicago petcoke pile

After using Detroit as a toxic waste dumping ground, the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers are now piling their petroleum coke from tar sands oil refineries in Chicago.

Kiley Kroh of ThinkProgress writes that petroleum coke, or petcoke, “is building up along Chicago's Calumet River and alarming residents.” The Chicago petcoke piles are owned by KCBX, an affiliate of Koch Carbon, which is a subsidiary of Koch Industries.

Petcoke is a high-carbon, high-sulfur byproduct of coking, a refining process that extracts oil from tar sands bitumen crude. The petcoke owned by Charles and David Koch is a byproduct of bitumen crude shipped to US refineries from the Alberta tar sands.

Fri, 2011-01-21 15:27TJ Scolnick
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Britain Ignores Tyndall Centre Report Urging Shale Gas Moratorium At Its Own Peril

Despite the evidence of significant potential risks presented in a recent report by the Tyndall Centre, the British government says it will forge ahead with plans for shale gas development in the UK. The Tyndall Centre’s study, “Shale gas: a provisional assessment of climate change and environmental impacts” [PDF], urged the UK to place a moratorium on shale gas in light of serious risks associated with shale gas development, including the contamination of ground and surface waters, the expected net increase of CO2 emissions, and substantial monetary costs which could delay major investments in clean energy technologies.

Shale gas extraction involves drilling into shale formations followed by a rock fracturing process which uses heavily polluting chemicals. Especially in the US with the introduction of drilling “refinements” known as hydrofracturing or “fracking,” shale gas extraction has become highly divisive, and ever more popular among natural gas producers (making up nearly 10% of production by some estimates). The significant water contamination and public health risks associated with shale gas are well documented in last year’s “Gasland” film.

Paul Monaghan, the Co-operative’s head of sustainability describes shale gas as “like tar sands in your backyard, both in terms of local pollution and in terms of carbon emissions.”

Sat, 2009-09-26 07:05Peter Sinclair
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Climate Denial Crock of the Week/All Wet on Sea level remixed

Sea level rise. It’s been the subject of myth, legend and pop culture for millenia. It is going to be one of the major destructive effects of global climate change. So naturally, its something that makes deniers do and say crazy things.

Here’s the updated, remixed video on a misunderstood topic.

Mon, 2009-09-07 08:38Peter Sinclair
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Climate Denial Crock of the Week/1998 Revisited

One of the enduring myths of climate denialism is that global warming stopped sometime in the last decade. I see it in the blaring headlines of pseudoscience websites, in comments on my videos, even some of our most “distinguished” journalists have been taken in.

Sun, 2009-08-09 21:15Peter Sinclair
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All Wet on Sea Level Rise

Sea level rise will be one of the most important and destructive effects of climate change, so naturally, Deniers have something grossly in error to say about it.

We’ll look, as always, at the source documents.

Tue, 2009-04-21 08:16Jeanne Roberts
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Inhofe’s Take on EPA CO2 Ruling Typical Denialism

It’s no surprise that Sen. James Inhofe’s (R-OK) take on the recent EPA decision (that carbon dioxide is a danger to public health and must be regulated) is negative.


Inhofe, ranking minority member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, doesn’t believe in anthropogenic global warming, and has called the EPA’s stance the beginning of a regulatory climate which will destroy American jobs, raise consumer energy prices, and make it impossible for the U.S. to complete in a global economy.

Inhofe’s position, that Congress should pass legislation to stop the EPA ruling in its tracks, is typical of global warming deniers, who prefer bombast, manufactured evidence and creating hysteria to actual fact. All have, at one time or other, parroted their misinformed “proof” that Obama’s green economy plan will cost every American family $3,128 per year in rising energy costs.

Mon, 2007-08-06 11:43Bill Miller
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Taking aim at carbon is ‘missing the point’ in global-warming fight

The focus on reducing carbon emissions has blinded us to the real problem - unsustainable lifestyles. A writer in BBC’s Green Room says climate change, though serious, is only one of a growing list of problems resulting from the way we live. And cutting emissions is like using methadone to cure heroine addition.

Fri, 2007-03-30 10:14Bill Miller
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Running out of oil could worsen climate change, author says

While many think declining oil production would be good for the climate, a new book suggests a chilling scenario of environmental and economic catastrophe. Oil is the biggest single source of greenhouse gases, it argues, but coal and gas are bigger still, and the inevitable growth in their emissions would overwhelm any reduction from oil.

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