Coal’s Future “In the Hands of the People”

May 6, 2019

Nathaniel Bullard for Bloomberg:

Climate change is at the top of many American voters’ minds, as evidenced by a CNN poll last week that found “96% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say it’s very or somewhat important for a presidential candidate to promise aggressive action” on the issue. At the same time on the other side of the globe, “Promises to fight the world’s most toxic air have made it to the manifestos of major political parties for the first time in Indian elections.” And in the U.K., the Committee on Climate Change recently said the U.K. can “end its contribution to global warming within 30 years by setting an ambitious new target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.” 

However, many governments — as well as a number of financial institutions — maintain faith in the need for an expansion of coal-fired power, one of the biggest contributors to global warming. A new survey shows the challenges that commitment will face within some major markets, and they will underpin any coal growth story.

The study, commissioned by think tank E3G, polled citizens in Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam on their preferences for foreign investment in the energy sector. In every country, renewable energy was the top choice.

WKAR – East Lansing, MI:

Michigan residents support a transition from coal-fired energy to more solar and wind powered electricity, a new Michigan State University research report finds.

Public support of natural gas-generated electricity was more mixed, says MSU College of Engineering researchers who queried Michigan residents through a combination of interviews, focus group and general public attitudes.  

Ninety percent of the public says they support more solar power use in Michigan, reports researchers Sharlissa Moore, Ph.D., assistant professor in MSU’s James Madison College and College of Engineering and Annick Anctil, assistant professor and civil and environmental engineering in MSU’s College of Engineering.

Some 75 percent of those responding to the State of the State survey questions strongly support Michigan’s current plans to turn from producing 75 percent of its electricity from coal to other sources of energy in the next five years.

“As one interviewee put it, ‘The war on coal is over, and coal has lost,’” they write.

The numbers softened, to 86 percent, when survey respondents were asked to what extent they support more solar power plants built in Michigan, the researchers write in a paper published by MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR).

4 Responses to “Coal’s Future “In the Hands of the People””

  1. redskylite Says:

    Banning Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling by Dr. Steve Cohen the author of The Sustainable City (2017), Understanding Environmental Policy (2006, 2014), Sustainability Management (2011), The Effective Public Manager (1988, now co-authored in its fifth edition), and the co-author of Sustainability Policy: Hastening the Transition to a Cleaner Economy (2015), The Responsible Contact Manager (2008), Strategic Planning in Environmental Regulation (2005), Tools for Innovators: Creative Strategies for Managing Public Sector Organizations (1998), and Total Quality Management in Government (1993). He has written numerous articles on public management, sustainability management, and environmental policy. Dr. Cohen also writes a weekly blog for the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet website.

    “Most people know that mitigating global warming requires a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Government policy should be discouraging rather than encouraging the extraction of fossil fuels from the ground and from beneath the sea. Fossil fuels damage the environment during extraction, transport and burning. The transition to renewable energy will be a long, difficult, complex undertaking. Government policy should be used to facilitate rather than impede that transition. Public policy that promotes fossil fuel extraction is harmful to our planet and to our economy.”

  2. redskylite Says:

    “Investors are overlooking the long-term risks climate change poses to oil and gas infrastructure firms, which face tens of billion of dollars worth of stranded assets as the world transitions to greener energy.”

  3. redskylite Says:

    Solar’s stunning rise takes big chunk out of coal in daytime market

    The huge leap in solar installations in Australia over the past 12 months – both in rooftop PV and large scale solar plants – is having a dramatic impact on the daytime electricity market, and coal is the biggest loser.

    This stunning graph – published in the Australian Energy Market Operator’s Quarterly Energy Dynamics report on Tuesday – shows the enormous growth in average supply from solar in the first quarter of 2019, compared with the same quarter a year ago.

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