How China accidentally geoengineered the climate

Between 2003 and 2007, China burned so much coal that it increased global consumption of the stuff 25 percent. That put so much sulfur into the air that it more or less literally (temporarily) blotted out the sun, masking some of the global warming that otherwise would have occurred during the first decade of the 21st century.

Critical List: Oil spills into Yellowstone River; Americans are driving less

42,000 gallons of Exxon oil spilled into the Yellowstone River in Montana over the weekend. Regulators had warned the company that the pipe wasn't safe. The river's particularly high, which isn't helping clean-up. Atmospheric pollution from China's coal use temporarily masked global warming: sulfur particulates reflected more light back into space, keeping the planet’s temperature from rising too fast. But over time the carbon dioxide released from the coal will push temperatures upwards.

Feds say Massey cooked the safety books

According to federal investigators, Massey Energy -- the folks who brought you the Upper Big Branch coal mine explosion that killed 29 -- has been deliberately misleading inspectors about safety conditions at its mines. That's the Mine Safety and Health Administration's conclusion, based on 84,000 pages of documents and 266 interviews. 


The good news about coal

Big Coal faces a powerful new enemy in its quest to build new plants: you.


Kentucky coal companies remind us why we really, really need the EPA

The latest episode in the saga known as Big Coal's Watergate began Tuesday when environmental and citizen groups filed a second notice of intent to sue the two largest mountaintop-removal mining companies in Kentucky.

Company wants to turn world’s biggest coal field into world’s biggest coal plant

A 250 mile long coal seam discovered deep in the interior desert of Australia's Northern Territory appears to be the most gigantic coal deposit on planet Earth, and Central Petroleum Limited wants to burn it all. They project it will take them at least a century to go through the entire reserve, or right about until they’ve turned Australia’s notoriously harsh desert into an incomprehensibly lifeless hellscape populated by miners in climate controlled space-suits.


Many power plants already have equipment to slash mercury

Many power plants have already installed pollution-control technologies that can significantly reduce mercury as well as other pollutants.

Climate & Energy

The small-c conservatism of U.S. power companies

The U.S. power sector is biased in favor of the familiar. It's not well-suited to producing the risk-taking and innovation we need in clean electricity

Critical List: Two nuclear plants in the path of Missouri River floods; sea levels are rising

Two nuclear power plants are in the path of the Missouri River floods, but DON'T WORRY EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. A new study verifies that the sea has risen more quickly during the past one hundred years than at any other time in the last millennium, and that climate change is definitely, absolutely, positively, no question to blame for that. Because the Obama administration likes tourist attractions that bring in gazillions of dollars to Arizona's economy, it's not going to let anyone mine for uranium on the 1 million acres of land surrounding the Grand Canyon for the next 20 years. After 20 years … well, hell, it’s only a big hole in the ground.