Alternatives to coal

In recent years, a number of climate scientists, most prominently NASA’s James Hansen, have advocated a phase-out of coal in order to reduce the danger of climate change. But is such a phase-out possible, given the available alternatives? As outlined in the CoalSwarm article “Coal phase-out,” a number of studies have outlined how coal can be phased out in the United States and replaced with clean alternatives. Additional scenarios for radically reducing or phasing out coal can be found in “Coal Studies” under “No-Coal and Reduced-Coal Scenarios.” More details on the various technologies for conservation and efficiency, photovoltaic power, wind power, etc. that can collectively replace coal can be found in the technology-specific pages listed here.

CoalSwarm also has information on controversial technologies such as natural gas, which some promote as a “bridge fuel” and others criticize as not much better, or perhaps even worse, than coal.

Finally, CoalSwarm provides information on various policy alternatives for promoting clean energy, such as feed-in tariffs and renewable portfolio standards.