Photo: Nostrifikator via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY
... And if that happens, we're in big, big trouble. The U.S. military just turned down a pitch to run more of its fleet on the stuff, and thankfully so -- liquefied coal generates way more greenhouse emissions than oil does (about twice as many) and even more than regular coal, thanks to the intensive refining process. The news is that due to the rising costs of oil, liquefied coal could be cost-effective by 2015.
So sayeth a new report from MIT (via Clean Techies), and it's one that should be cause for alarm for anyone desiring of a stable climate system -- if we don't price carbon or otherwise deter the burning of such fossil fuels soon, and unless there's a major breakthrough in the cost of solar, we may find ourselves reliant on yet another dirty fuel.
In other words, it may soon be cost effective to burn a fuel that's even more emissions-intensive than the stuff already responsible for the lions share of the greenhouse gas emissions in the Earth's atmosphere.
We need to work to avoid this at all costs -- the fact that we're already beginning what looks to be another love affair with natural gas and oil from the tar sands is bad enough. If we're going to keep the carbon concentration anywhere close to 450 parts per million -- never mind the 350 ppm that scientists actually suggest, that we've surpassed some time ago -- we're going to need to find a way to price -- or box out -- carbon. And fast.
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More on Liquefied Coal
US Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Facility Plan Dropped by Air Force
Increased Coal-to-Liquids Fuel Usage Will Accelerate Climate Breaking Point