Scientists call for curbing coal
Sep 16, 2008 - UPI
U.S. scientists say they've determined curbing carbon
dioxide emissions from coal might avert climate danger.
Researchers at Columbia University's Earth Institute
said the continuing rise in the planet's atmospheric
CO2 levels resulting from burning fossil fuels might
be kept below harmful levels if emissions from coal
are phased out within the next few decades. The researchers,
including James Hansen of the U.S. space agency's
Goddard Institute for Space Studies and climatologist
Pushker Kharecha, said the burning of fossil fuels
has accounted for about 80 percent of the rise of
atmospheric CO2 since the pre-industrial era, to its
current level of 385 parts per million.
"This is the first paper that explicitly melds the
two vital issues of global peak oil production and
human-induced climate change," Kharecha said. "We
found that because coal is much more plentiful than
oil or gas, reducing coal emissions is absolutely
essential to avoid dangerous climate change."
The scientists report their research in the journal
Global Biogeochemical Cycles. Kharecha is also author
of a related article, "How Will the End of Cheap Oil
Affect Future Global Climate?"