European countries facing record prices for oil and natural gas are turning to coal to fuel their energy needs, deeply worrying environmentalists, the New York Times reports. During the next five years, about 50 new coal-fired power plants will open across Europe. Many electricity companies say they have no other choice.
In Italy, where fuel costs have jumped 151% since 1996, a spokesman for a major electricity producer insists its new plant “will be the cleanest coal plant in Europe.” But the technology that reduces local pollution doesn’t reduce carbon emissions. Rather than opening new plants, “we need a moratorium on coal now, with a phase-out of existing plants over the next two decades," said a leading climatologist.