Nice article here about the USA quietly moving away from coal:

“In a report compiled in early 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy listed 151 coal-fired power plants in the planning stages and talked about a resurgence in coal-fired electricity. But during 2007, 59 proposed U.S. coal-fired power plants were either refused licenses by state governments or quietly abandoned. In addition to the 59 plants that were dropped, close to 50 more coal plants are being contested in the courts, and the remaining plants will likely be challenged as they reach the permitting stage.”

“Utilities have argued that carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal plant smokestacks could be captured and stored underground, thus helping keep hope for the industry alive. But on January 30, 2008, the Bush administration announced that it was pulling the plug on a joint project with 13 utilities and coal companies to build a demonstration coal-fired power plant in Illinois with underground carbon sequestration because of massive cost overruns.”

Forget details like Kyoto and carbon trading: this is major. Future atmospheric CO2 is mostly about coal and deforestation, and this is a very good sign.

Obviously we’re going to keep using oil as long as we can, so the only CO2 that won’t finish up in the atmosphere is the coal we leave in the ground and the trees we grow and/or don’t burn.

The choices for electricity are coal vs nuclear vs renewables. Renewable vs nuclear is a political/economic choice, but either keeps the CO2 in the ground.