If there is any hope of staving off the worst effects of climate change, many scientists say, this must be part of it — capturing the carbon that spews from power plants and locking it away, permanently. For now, they contend, the world is too dependent on fossil fuels to do anything less.
If all goes as planned, the effort in Saskatchewan will be the first major one of its kind at a power plant, the equivalent of taking about 250,000 cars off the road. And at least in theory, that carbon dioxide will be kept out of the atmosphere forever.
“Think about how far we’ve come,” said Mr. Zeleny, who recently retired after four decades here, most recently as plant manager.
Despite President Obama’s push to rein in emissions from power plants across the United States, coal is not going away anytime soon. The administration expects coal will still produce nearly a third of the nation’s electricity in 2030, down from about 40 percent today, even if Mr. Obama’s plan survives the political onslaught against it.
The challenge is even more stark overseas. China already burns almost as much coal as all other nations combined, and its appetite keeps expanding. Worldwide, coal consumption in 2020 will be about twice what it was in 2000, according to the United States Energy Information Administration, and will continue to grow for decades.
Read the 2nd article in the NY Times series here.