Globally there are 510 coal fired power plant under construction with a further 1874 planned, 2,384 in total.
Joby Warrick of The Washington Post asks a strange question: If it’s President Obama’s mission to reduce carbon emissions, why is the federal government allowing coal to be mined on federal land and exported?
The answer is obvious and hidden in plain sight in the graphics package that accompanies Warrick’s story: Increasing world demand for electricity.
This chart shows from 1980 to 2012, world electricity production from coal increased by 192%. Forty percent of electricity is generated from coal.
World demand for electricity will increase for decades to come. “In sub-Saharan Africa, where just 24 percent of the population has access to electric power, demand is likely to grow exponentially in the years ahead,” notes the Post. In India, with its middle class expected to grow to 200 million by 2020,Robert Bryce at the Manhattan Institute points out, “India’s coal use is expected to more than double by 2035.”
Being a cheap, abundant source of energy, coal can fuel countries that strive to live lifestyles as comfortable as ours in the United States. Can’t say I blame them.
Stephen Eule at the Institute for 21st Century Energy quotes Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister for State for Power, Coal, and New & Renewable Energy:
Just as in all other countries, including the developed world, coal will continue to remain the mainstay of our energy related needs for the foreseeable future. In all fairness, it would not be correct to say or to expect India to move away from coal when we are at the cusp of our developmental journey.
According to the World Coal Association, there are more than 2,300 coal fired power plants planned or under construction worldwide. They will provide electricity access to millions of people, greatly improving their lives. These plants will be built and burn coal no matter what coal opponents do.