Coal Plants Are a Dying Breed

Via Richard Meyer, here’s a chart showing that despite President Trump’s best efforts, retirement of old power plants is nearly at the goal agreed to by Barack Obama in the Paris Accord for 2030, and is closing in on Obama’s goal in the Clean Power Plan for 2022. Trump may think that it’s good politics to pretend that coal will thrive again someday, but it’s not true. Old coal-fired plants are shutting down and no new ones are being built. Coal simply can’t compete with modern gas-fired plants, and increasingly can’t compete with modern renewable plants either.

This is only a small fraction of what we need to do if we want to avoid the worst effects of climate change, but it does show that significant change can be made without serious sacrifice. Someday sacrifices will be needed, and it’s true that I’m skeptical of the global public’s willingness to make them. Either way, though, that’s no reason not to go after the low-hanging fruit and get as much easy reduction in CO2 as we can. As this chart shows, plenty of that low-hanging fruit is still available to us.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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