Coal Plants Are a Dying Breed

Via Richard Meyer, here’s a chart showing that despite President Trump’s best efforts, retirement of old power plants is nearly at the goal agreed to by Barack Obama in the Paris Accord for 2030, and is closing in on Obama’s goal in the Clean Power Plan for 2022. Trump may think that it’s good politics to pretend that coal will thrive again someday, but it’s not true. Old coal-fired plants are shutting down and no new ones are being built. Coal simply can’t compete with modern gas-fired plants, and increasingly can’t compete with modern renewable plants either.

This is only a small fraction of what we need to do if we want to avoid the worst effects of climate change, but it does show that significant change can be made without serious sacrifice. Someday sacrifices will be needed, and it’s true that I’m skeptical of the global public’s willingness to make them. Either way, though, that’s no reason not to go after the low-hanging fruit and get as much easy reduction in CO2 as we can. As this chart shows, plenty of that low-hanging fruit is still available to us.

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