Full Title: Coal Markets in Motion
Author(s): John P. Banks, Tim Boersma, Charles K. Ebinger, and Heather L. Greenley
Publisher(s): Brookings
Publication Date: 03/2015


Description (excerpt):

Coal exemplifies the difficulty in balancing tradeoffs among the environmental, economic, and energy security objectives embedded in energy policymaking. Indeed, coal offers an array of advantages and disadvantages which can polarize views and leave nuance aside. Advantages include abundance, with large reserves widely dispersed globally. The United States alone is often cited as having 245 years of coal reserves remaining. Coal, by comparison to other sources of electricity generation, is a relatively cheap fuel source in many regions across the globe. Coal can enhance energy security, providing a domestic source of energy. In many emerging market countries it is a fuel critical to meet growing electricity demand, support economic growth and employment, and expand access to electricity. In this way, coal is a tool for poverty alleviation. Finally, more efficient coal combustion processes and carbon capture and storage (CCS) offer a technological path for cleaner use of coal, especially in regard to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).