photo via flickr
Coal activist Ted Nace today published a must-read post in Grist on the importance of taking on coal via a variety of strategies, effectively coming at the country's Number 1 contributor to climate change from every angle possible. Nace, the man behind the indispensable Coalswarm, lays out the case for why coal has got to go and offers a roadmap for taking coal-fired power plants offline. Writes Nace:
So what's the best way to accomplish the phase-out of coal? That question, with its use of the singular "way," may be wrongly phrased. One mistake that activists tend to make is "marrying" a particular solution to a problem. Not only does this result in unnecessary infighting, as factions line up behind their favorite options, it also ignores the reality that changing the world is always a messy endeavor, and tactics often work better in combination than in isolation.
He goes on to offer 9 strategies. They range from direct action to regulatory fights to passing comprehensive climate policy at the national level to put a price on carbon that the coal companies and utilities can't deal with.
The US coal fleet is about 330 GW of capacity. From 2000 through 2009, writes Nace, about 8 GW of new coal plant capacity came online, while 7 GW was lost due to retirement or conversion. By 2016, over half the coal plants in the U.S. will be more than 50 years old, making an argument for retiring the oldest first and then working backwards from there.