Environmental law scholar examines paths to cleaner electricity that are fair to coal communities
“Coal is in decline as an energy source. In recent decades, coal combustion has fallen from 50% of electricity generation to 20% of electricity generation in the United States, as natural gas and renewables like wind and solar have become increasingly cost-competitive.
But after generations of investment in coal-fired power plants, transitioning away from enduring coal sources may prove more difficult: Under some current forecasts, more than 10% of our energy could still come from coal in 2050—which means several more decades of planet-warming carbon emissions if we do not implement significant policy changes. Meeting key climate goals will depend in part on a speedier transition.
Mark N. Templeton is a clinical professor at the University of Chicago Law School, where he also directs the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic. As a research affiliate of the Energy Policy Institute at UChicago (EPIC), he recently authored a chapter in the new handbook, The U.S. Energy and Climate Roadmap, featuring policy recommendations about smoothing the coal transition.”