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Coal - August 1

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Coal May Surpass Oil as Better Bet on Demand for Cheaper Fuel

Christopher Martin, Bloomberg
Coal, the hard, black byproduct of fossilized plants used as fuel since China's Western Han dynasty 2000 years ago, may overtake oil as the best performing energy investment.

That, at least, is the emerging consensus from a diversity of speculators, investors and giant corporations including Wilbur Ross, the billionaire bankruptcy specialist, BHP Billiton Plc, the world's largest mining company, and Merrill Lynch & Co., the third-largest U.S. securities firm.

Because ``coal is the cheapest, most abundant energy source,'' from North America to China, ``the surge in oil has encouraged people to plan new coal-fueled power plants and to start using conversion technologies such as coal-to-diesel,'' said Richard Price, an investment banker at Westminster Securities in St. Louis...

Converting coal into liquid fuel or natural gas becomes economical when oil remains above $40 a barrel, said Stephen Leer, chief executive officer of Arch Coal Inc., the second- largest U.S. producer.
(31 July 2006)
Contributor Sherry Mayo writes:

This is bad news for greenhouse emissions! - The dash for coal in response to peak oil is exactly what Jeremy Leggett warns against in his book "Half Gone".

China's coal catastrophe

Clifford Coonan, Independent (UK)
China produces more coal than anywhere else in the world, fuelling the country's economic boom. But it comes at a terrible price: the mines are the world's deadliest, and their environmental impact is catastrophic. Safer - and cleaner - technology exists. But is there the political will to make it happen?
(29 July 2006)

China's breakneck growth has become globe's pollution problem, researchers say

Terence Chea, Portland Oregonian
Environment - Experts say China one day could account for a third of California's air pollution
MOUNT TAMALPAIS STATE PARK, Calif. -- On a mountaintop overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Steven Cliff collects evidence of an industrial revolution taking place thousands of miles away.

The tiny, airborne particles Cliff gathers at an air monitoring station just north of San Francisco drifted over the ocean from coal-fired power plants, smelters, dust storms and diesel trucks in China and other Asian countries.

Researchers say the environmental impact of China's breakneck economic growth is being felt well beyond its borders. They worry that as China consumes more fossil fuels to feed its energy-hungry economy, the U.S. could see a sharp increase in trans-Pacific pollution that could affect human health, worsen air quality and alter climate patterns.
(30 July 2006)

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