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Can U.S. lead world into a carbon-free future

Scientists gather at global climate, energy conference to discuss fossil fuels' impacts

Source:  Copyright 2006, Oakland Tribune
Date:  September 19, 2006
Byline:  Ian Hoffman
Original URL: Status ONLINE

The world has plenty of energy, enough for 500 years and probably 1,000 or more.

"And that's the bad news. Because it's fossil energy," Nobel laureate physicist and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory director Steve Chu told fellow scientists Monday at Stanford University.

Left to their present course, industrialized and developing nations are planning to burn vast quantities of fossil fuels, driven increasingly to carbon-rich coal by high oil and gas prices.

China alone is building the equivalent of a Manhattan every year and a large coal-fired power plant every week. It consumed more coal last year than the United States, Russia and India combined. "China is a coal economy. You don't change that overnight," said Doug Ogden, director of the China Sustainable Energy program for the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation.

That's likely to push the chemistry of the atmosphere past a doubling ...

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