Solid Poison (Coal) Share of Energy Mix to Increase, Says NYT

The main purpose of this blog post is to introduce some new derogatory terms for fossil fuel. There are mainly three flavors: Oil, coal, and gas.

I think it might be useful to refer to them as “poison”, since their continued use threatens to exterminate humanity, and there is still a need to get some attention to that fact.

And since they are conveniently in solid, liquid, and gaseous form, the logical terms that come to mind are “solid poison” for coal, “liquid poison” for oil, and “poison gas” for gas.

I am aware of the fact that this does not sound very friendly, and that it makes me an ingrate, since I owe my personal well-being very much to the use of fossil fuel in the last and this century. I am sorry for that. But the stakes are too high, with the survival of humanity in play.

That said, now a short discussion of the article at New York Times referenced in the title. That article by Peter Galuszka, is titled “With China and India Ravenous for Energy, Coal’s Future Seems Assured.”

The author notes some inconvenient facts about solid poison. It is still cheaper than solar or wind. China and India use a lot, and plan on increasing their use. China wants to increase coal generating capacity by 240 GW in the next four years, and India by 70 GW. Demand for thermal coal is also expected to increase.

He thinks that coal has a bright future. So does Milton Catelin, chief executive of the World Coal Association, who expects solid poison use to increase by 50% until 2035.

He may be right. In that case, the future for the climate is rather bleak.

He also reports on complaints by the American coal industry that Obama is waging a “war on coal”. I think that is an excellent figure of speech. There needs to be a war on coal, to make sure that more of the stuff stays in the ground, that it gets more expensive, and that the coal companies make more money in the process of their solid poison getting more expensive.


Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

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