One of the most significant challenges in addressing global climate change is reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from the use of coal. Coal use, primarily for the generation of electricity, now accounts for roughly 20 percent of global GHG emissions. Rising energy demand will continue to drive up coal consumption, particularly in countries with large reserves such as the United States, China, and India. By 2030, GHG emissions from coal-fired power plants in these three countries alone may be equivalent to one-fourth of total global energy-related emissions today. To avoid—or minimize—dangerous human interference with the climate system and at the same time ensure adequate, affordable energy supplies, it is critical that these and other countries adopt policies and technologies that enable continued use of coal while dramatically reducing its GHG emissions profile.
To help address this challenge, the Pew Center launched a major initiative to identify policy options for reducing coal-related GHG emissions. This initiative produced a series of papers examining:
- Technology pathways for future coal use, both for power generation and other potential end uses, that will assist in reducing emissions, particularly by enabling the introduction of carbon capture-and-storage (CCS) technologies; and
- Policy options at the national, state, and international levels to drive the deployment of advanced generation technologies and, ultimately, widespread capture and sequestration of coal-related GHG emissions.
These papers were undertaken in collaboration with leading experts and with advice and input from a Consultative Group of experts, policymakers, and stakeholders. Please visit the Web site of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change to view the collection of Coal Series white papers, which includes the following:
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions site.