High Costs Put Clean Coal on Back Burner

Plans to scrub coal-plant emissions hit money wall
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2008 2:45 AM CDT
High Costs Put Clean Coal on Back Burner
Coal is cheap and abundant, making it likely to be used for power for decades to come, but scientists warn that cleaner technology is needed to avoid global warming.   (KRT Photos)

Ambitious plans to combat global warming by pumping carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants into the ground have been delayed or canned due to spiraling costs, the New York Times reports. Scientists now fear that the next generation of coal-burning plants will be built using old, emission-spewing technology, spelling disaster for the climate.

A project to build a flagship plant in Illinois to test the latest coal-burning techniques lost its government backing in January after costs doubled to $1.8 billion. A few smaller projects have survived, but with the estimated 15 years it takes to get such plants up and running, the concern is that the carbon-capturing operations won't be ready when they're urgently needed. (Read more climate change stories.)

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