Europe’s Climate Fail: How Renewable and Carbon Capture Policies Brought Back Coal

Stephanie Gruner Buckley writing for Quartz and The Breakthrough Institute:

A few years ago, carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology was seen as the best way to clean up coal and cut carbon emissions. And Europe was seen as the expected leader in the field. But instead, reports the science journal Nature, Europe has fallen behind North America in the race to create systems that separate carbon dioxide from exhaust gases.

And what’s worse, Europe is increasingly turning to coal, the most polluting of all sources of electricity. In some European countries, reports The Economist, the amount of coal-generated electricity is rising by up to 50% a year, at annualized rates. Ironically, some experts say CCS is the only way to eliminate coal emissions.

What’s going on Europe? The continent associated with being greener than green, at least during climate change talks, is suddenly looking, well, a little dirty. Here’s what’s happened.

(…snip…) And so, to cut costs utilities are replacing gas with coal. And at a worrying rate: In the first half of last year, European purchases of American coal jumped by a third. So much for Europe’s green reputation.

Europe is leading in decarbonization? Shutting down clean nuclear plants? Building ten new coal plants? Cutting down German forests to burn for heat? Read more…