Image via Flickr
2009 brought us ups and downs on the fight to slow and reverse climate change. It began with the hope that comes with a new President and the passage of the Waxman-Markey bill, a flawed but historic piece of legislation. Then, of course, we had the Copenhagen let down, where world leaders abdicated their responsibility to take on global warming and in the process spark a new energy economy. But the year will end on a high note, because no new coal plants were built in 2009 in the US. The Sierra Club, which has put together perhaps the most successful and sophisticated coal campaign on the planet, should take much of the credit. In a press release, they cite a "combination of widespread public opposition, rising costs, increasing financial risks and concerns over future carbon regulations" as the reasons for no new coal.
In this year, according to the Club, 26 coal-fired power plants--which would have emitted 146 million tons of carbon dioxide annually-- were defeated or abandoned. Meanwhile, there was a 22.5% increase in electricity generated from wind between 2008 and 2009.
In 2001, when George Bush took office, there were more than 150 proposed coal plants announced. Of those, 111 have been defeated or abandoned, "keeping over 450 million tons of carbon dioxide out of the air each year."
You can view the Sierra Club's no new coal plant tracker at www.sierraclub.org/coal/coalnearyou.