Monday, July 21, 2008

Switching to coal could be fatal

By Chris Kraul for the LA Times

As the global price of oil and natural gas soars, some customers are taking a new look at other fuels — including coal. And countries such as China and India, whose demand is contributing to the price of petroleum, need even more energy. Besides petroleum products, they are buying vast amounts of coal, as well.

The worldwide demand for oil has its own set of environmental consequences — drilling in pristine areas where it previously was uneconomical and continued emission of greenhouse gases. But environmentalists warn that renewed reliance on coal takes the threat to another level.

“Growing coal use threatens nothing less than the end of civilization as we know it,” said Henry Henderson, the Chicago-based Midwest director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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