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China's Pollution Problem Just Got Much Worse

'China has been burning so much more coal than we believed'

(Newser) - We already knew China emitted a huge amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It turns out it's worse than we thought. "China has been burning so much more coal than we believed,” Yang Fuqiang, a former Chinese energy official, tells the New York Times . “This...

Mountain of Coal Ash Spills Into NC River

But officials say drinking water is safe

(Newser) - Somewhere between 50,000 and 82,000 tons of coal ash have spilled into a river that flows between North Carolina and Virginia since Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reports. But municipal officials as well as the owner of the retired coal plant involved, Duke Energy, insist the drinking water...

Plan OKed to Dredge, Dump in Great Barrier Reef Park

Environmental groups warn of dangers

(Newser) - The authority in charge of Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has given the final approval to a plan to dump millions of tons of dredging spoils into the park's waters, despite howls of protest from environmental groups and scientists. The dredging is part of a plan to...

Coal Pollution Burned 2.5B Years Off China Lifespans

Free coal blamed for huge north-south discrepancy

(Newser) - By giving free coal to everybody in the north of the country for decades, the Chinese government has inadvertently provided researchers with dramatic proof of the damage heavy air pollution does to health. A new study examining decades of data has found that life expectancy in southern China is 5....

US CO2 Emissions Dive to 20-Year Low

Cheap natural gas has made a huge difference

(Newser) - America's carbon emissions have, amazingly, dropped to levels near where they would be in an alternate reality where President Al Gore signed the Kyoto Protocol. Emissions of the greenhouse gas are at their lowest in 20 years and government officials say the dramatic fall is thanks to cheap natural...

Indian Village Vanishing Beneath the Earth

Coal fires slowly eating away at Jharia

(Newser) - Situated atop coal fields that have been burning for decades, sagging houses in India's Jharia village are swallowed whole by the earth, sometimes along with their residents, the Los Angeles Times reports. There's no formal count on how many people have succumbed to the dangerous flames or the...

Romney Energy Aide Linked to Coal Industry

Jim Talent runs lobbying firm paid by Big Coal

(Newser) - An energy advisor who helped craft Mitt Romney's pro-coal policy also runs a lobbying firm that's paid by, you guessed it, a big coal company. Ex-Missouri senator Jim Talent co-chairs the lobbying firm Mercury Public Affairs, which receives $125,000 a year from Peabody Energy to promote its...

Gas Grills Are Un-American
 Gas Grills Are Un-American 

Gas Grills Are Un-American

Josh Ozersky makes a case for charcoal

(Newser) - Gas grilling isn’t just lazy: “It's nihilism in a tank, and it has to stop now,” writes Josh Ozersky in a passionate ode to charcoal grilling. His effusive Time column rhapsodizes about coal, elevating it to the level of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...

Epic Floods Close Australia's Coal Mines

Waters causing 'catastrophic damage' to transportation system

(Newser) - The nearly biblical flood that’s washed over Queensland, Australia, is causing massive damage—including the closure of 75% of its coal mines, which supply most of Asia’s steel mills. “That’s a massive impact on the international markets,” observed Premier Anna Bligh in a TV interview....

Miner's Family: He Knew the Risks

Family honors Benny Willingham, one of the 25 killed in mine blast

(Newser) - The family of one of the 25 men killed in Monday's coal mine explosion in West Virginia says he went to work every day fully aware of the risks. "He thanked the Lord for watching over him in the mines for over 30 years," the sister of 62-year-old...

Tanker in Danger of Breaking Up on Great Barrier Reef

Chinese coal-hauler was 9 miles outside shipping lane

(Newser) - A coal-laden ship that ran aground at full speed some 9 miles outside a shipping lane in protected waters was leaking oil on Australia's Great Barrier Reef and in danger of breaking apart, officials said today. Authorities fear an oil spill will damage the world's largest coral reef, which is...

Buffett's Railroad Buy Is a (Smart) Bet on Coal
Buffett's Railroad Buy
Is a (Smart) Bet on Coal

Buffett's Railroad Buy Is a (Smart) Bet on Coal

Growth in US economy will boost electricity demand

(Newser) - Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition of railroad operator Burlington North Santa Fe is really a "huge bet" by Warren Buffett on the coal industry, writes Steve Gelsi . Burlington hauls more coal than anything else, and the material accounted for a quarter of its third-quarter revenue. Buffett already is heavily invested...

Coal Harms the Planet &mdash;and Owns the Senate
 Coal Harms the Planet 
 —and Owns the Senate 
Jeffrey Sachs

Coal Harms the Planet —and Owns the Senate

Blame industry as well as ideology if US shirks Copenhagen

(Newser) - As the world turns to Copenhagen this December, the US, which never ratified the Kyoto Protocol, may once again fail to sign up to save the world from serious climate change. Ideology plays a part, Jeffrey Sachs notes, as many Republican senators are "intent on derailing any Obama initiative....

Energy Lobby Split on Climate, Thrilling Greens

Natural gas companies squabble with Big Oil as Senate negotiates

(Newser) - With the Senate set to consider legislation to tax carbon and rein in global warming, a split has emerged among the energy lobby that may make it easier to pass a clean-energy law. Natural gas producers favor a bill, while their colleagues in the oil industry oppose it; electric companies...

Greenpeace: 3 China Firms Emit More Carbon Than All of UK

(Newser) - China's inefficient power plants and heavy reliance on coal are dragging down global efforts to curb climate change, a Greenpeace report warned yesterday. The report found that major Chinese power companies are responsible for a huge amount of the country's coal use and emissions, with the top three producers alone...

Usable US Coal Reserves a Fraction of Earlier Estimates

(Newser) - For years the government has estimated that the US has 240 years' worth of coal in the ground, causing officials to dub the US the “Saudi Arabia of Coal.” But that estimate may be grossly exaggerated, the Wall Street Journal reports. While there probably is 240 years' worth...

Industry Muffled Own Scientists on Warming

Coal, oil, companies suppressed experts' findings for years

(Newser) - A coalition of industries linked to fossil fuels lobbied for more than a decade to cast doubt on global warming—while the companies' own scientists advised them that climate change was irrefutable, the New York Times reports. The Global Climate Coalition, financed by the oil, coal, and auto industries, conducted...

Clean Coal Myth Proves Industry Is Declining

(Newser) - Clean coal is a myth, and the companies selling it “have their heads stuck in the mine,” Thomas Kostigen writes on MarketWatch. Although Americans generate close to 50% of their energy from coal, the technology is so yesterday—and the industry is not poised to move forward. It...

Plans for Clean Energy Get Dirty in Transmission
Plans for Clean Energy Get Dirty in Transmission

Plans for Clean Energy Get Dirty in Transmission

Firms use green hype to build power lines that could carry electricity from coal

(Newser) - Plans to green the US power supply are in full swing, with the Obama administration working toward the goal of doubling the current supply of alternative energy over the next 3 years. But, some complain, power companies are using the popularity of green power to push through a needless—but...

Coen Brothers' Ad Knocks 'Clean Coal'

Filmmaking duo mock coal industry in ad for Al Gore green group

(Newser) - The Coen brothers chuck the notion of "clean coal" into the woodchipper in a new ad commissioned by Al Gore’s Reality Coalition, the Guardian reports. The ad, which the filmmaking duo directed for the anti-coal environmental group, features a salesman spraying black smog from a can marked "...

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