Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
The idea that coal is cheap and plentiful drives much thinking about future world energy consumption. It can explain the resistance of the United States and China to carbon-cutting policies — both countries have lots of coal, and they don’t plan to stop using it anytime soon. But is it a reasonable assumption? Richard Heinberg and David Fridley argue in this week’s Nature that coal prices are likely to start rising much sooner than everyone thinks — perhaps by the end of this decade.