Increased Coal-to-Liquids Fuels Usage Will Accelerate Climate Breaking Point

coal powered train image

More trains in the future is a great idea, more coal is a horrendously bad one. Image: Michael Warren

The choice of which energy sources predominate post-peak oil could have a profound effect on the rate of global warming, scientists have said. If coal-to-liquids fuels replace oil global temperatures will rise a critical 2°C by 2042, three years earlier than current climate models predict. Conversely, if renewable energy sources replace oil then this temperature increase could be delayed by 11 years. Here's how this could happen:Without Renewable Alternatives, Liquid Coal Could Win the Day
As world oil reserves begin critically depleting and the necessary investments aren't made to electrify the world's transportation fleet and a larger switch to renewable energy made, then it is likely that use of coal-to-liquids fuels (which have 40% higher emissions than oil) will rise.

Pushkar Kharecha, a researcher at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University's Earth Institute:

Coal to liquids must not be used as large scale substitutes for dwindling oil and gas unless all such emissions from them are captured and stored. (Greentech Media)

While there are some pilot CCS projects in operation, the technology involved is far from mature enough to be deployed at a large scale...Despite what the clean coal carolers would have you believe.

Clean Energy Technologies Can Return CO2 to Safe Levels This Century
Though current atmospheric carbon dioxide levels of about 385 parts per million are already above the revised safe level of 350ppm being promoted by scientists, Kharecha said that it is still possible to return them to safe levels by the end of this century if we engage in "Herculean" efforts to shift towards renewable energy sources, increase the use of nuclear power, and apply carbon sequestration technologies on existing coal power plants. Establishing a carbon tax will also be required—something recently advocated by Goddard Institute director James Hansen.

via: Greentech Media and Reuters
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