The WWF has a new briefing out called "Are the costs of using coal higher than the cost of cleaning it up?" It contains the standard "coal is the enemy of the human race" statistics, and concludes with six recommendations for how to reduce coal’s impact on global warming:
1. Emerging economies need access to best-available-technologies including last-generation coal-fired power technology and support from G8 nations and the financial sector in deploying it.
2. OECD countries should not replace aging power stations with traditional coal.
3. Demand-side management solutions should be considered before considering construction of new power stations. This will re-direct investment into cheaper energy-savings technology.
4. New power plants should use combined heat and power (CHP) and, where possible, cooling (tri- generation) technology. This will increase plant efficiency from 40-45% (coal) to over 80% (CHP).
5. Strict caps and/or standards are needed that mandate the construction of low-carbon and CCS power plants in the OECD as soon as possible. Emission standards should set gas-fired CHP as their benchmark.
6. All countries should set air pollution standards to protect the health of citizens and strengthen any existing caps to include all power stations. Technologies for low-carbon power stations can reduce conventional air emissions by as much as 90%.