How Power Plant Emissions Stack Up

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Coal (steam)

Coal (integrated gasification combined cycle) Coal (advanced integrated gasification combined cycle)

Natural gas (combined cycle)

Fission Fusion Renewables

- Emission limits needed to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide at safe levels

Carbon Emissions (kilograms per kilowatt-hour)

carbon to achieve the goal of keeping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere below 450 to 550 parts per million by volume. (Higher levels could have disastrous consequences for the global climate.) Improvingenergy efficiency and developing renewable sources can be faster, cheaper and cleanerand provide more security than developing new gas supplies. Electricity from a wind farm costs less than that produced by a natural gas power plant if the comparison factors in the full cost of plant construction and forecasted gas prices. Also, wind farms and solar arrays can be built more rapidly than large-scale natural gas plants. Most critically, diversity of supply is America's greatest ally in maintaining a competitive and innovative energy sector. Promoting renewable sources makes sense strictly on economic grounds, even before the environmental benefits are considered. —D.M.K.

ignated to compensate low-income families who spend a larger share of their income on energy. Furthermore, the carbon fee could be combined with a cap-and-trade program that would set limits on carbon emissions but also allow the cleanest energy suppliers to sell permits to their dirtier competitors. The federal government has used such programs with great success to curb other pollutants, and several northeastern states are already experimenting with greenhouse gas emissions trading.

Best of all, these steps would give energy companies an enormous financial incentive to advance the development and commercialization of renewable energy sources. In essence, the U.S. has the opportunity to foster an entirely new industry. The threat of climate change can be a rallying cry for a clean-technology revolution that would strengthen the country's manufacturing base, create thousands of jobs and alleviate our international trade deficits—instead of importing foreign oil, we can export high-efficiency vehicles, appliances, wind turbines and photovoltaics. This transformation can turn the nation's energy sector into something that was once deemed impossible: a vibrant, environmentally sustainable engine of growth. ®

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Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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