coal power plant pollution japan
Image by Benita Welter from Pixabay

Japan is trying to use ammonia to make coal cleaner

New York Times reporters Motoko Rich and Hikari Hida write about Jera, a Japanese company that wants to blend ammonia with coal in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Japan says that by blending ammonia with coal in its boilers, it can make coal less damaging to the planet.

In a nutshell:

While most advanced economies have pledged to phase out coal in the next seven years, Japan remains an exception, insisting on finding ways to make coal less harmful to the environment. One such effort involves blending ammonia, which emits no carbon dioxide when burned, with coal in power plant boilers. Jera plans to demonstrate this technology, marketing it as "clean coal," but critics argue that it still extends Japan's reliance on fossil fuels and may even increase carbon emissions during the ammonia production process. As Japan grapples with energy alternatives, its commitment to ammonia technology raises concerns about protecting entrenched industrial interests and delaying the transition to renewable energy sources.

Key quote:

Ultimately, critics say, Japan is prioritizing the ammonia technology to protect entrenched industrial interests against new renewable energy suppliers. “They are fully aware that they are losers in this shift,” said Kimiko Hirata, a founder of Climate Integrate, a research and advocacy group. “So they are really big on protecting the status quo and vested interests as long as possible.”

The big picture:

Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas and a major contributor to air pollution, leading to the formation of ground-level ozone and smog. Prolonged exposure to these pollutants can cause respiratory problems, aggravate existing respiratory conditions like asthma, and increase the vulnerability to respiratory infections. As the world grapples with the environmental impact of fossil fuels, finding cleaner alternatives and reducing reliance on such sources becomes crucial in safeguarding public health and mitigating climate change effects.

Read the article in full at the New York Times.

For additional context on the health impacts of coal power read Brian Bienkowski's article about two 2018 studies that showed significantly fewer health risks for babies after coal plants close.

Federal agencies move to protect climate science from political interference
Credit: NOAA/Unsplash

Federal agencies move to protect climate science from political interference

Federal agencies are implementing measures to safeguard scientific research from potential political meddling.

Maxine Joselow and Scott Dance report for The Washington Post.

Keep reading...Show less
Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
Keep reading...Show less

US oil trade group challenges Biden administration's EV mandate in court

The American Petroleum Institute has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration's new tailpipe emission rules, arguing they exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's authority and threaten the gas-powered car market.

Jarrett Renshaw reports for Reuters.

Keep reading...Show less
Trump anti-climate energy policies
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Trump rallies GOP against Biden's energy policies

In a rally with GOP senators, Trump criticized Biden's energy policies and electric vehicle mandates, emphasizing a high-level vision for his potential second term without delving into specific policy reversals.

Josh Siegel and Kelsey Tamborrino report for Politico.

Keep reading...Show less

Biden administration launches initiative to reduce food waste

The White House has introduced a comprehensive national strategy aimed at curbing food waste in the United States.

Somini Sengupta reports for The New York Times.

Keep reading...Show less
Ogallala Aquifer depletion & pork plant
Credit: Jimmy Emerson, DVM/Flickr

Water crisis looms in Oklahoma panhandle as pork processing booms

A pork processing plant has revitalized Guymon’s economy but has accelerated the depletion of the region’s vital groundwater supply.

Ben Felder reports for Investigate Midwest.

Keep reading...Show less
texas oil wells gushing water
Credit: Jonathan Cutrer/Flickr

Water gushes from abandoned oil wells in Texas

A troubling trend of water erupting from abandoned oil wells in West Texas raises unanswered questions about the cause and impact on the environment.

Dylan Baddour reports for Inside Climate News.

Keep reading...Show less
From our Newsroom
planetary health diet

This diet will likely keep you alive longer — and help the planet

New research finds the Planetary Health Diet lowers our risk to most major causes of death.

environmental justice

LISTEN: Jose Ramon Becerra Vera on democratizing science

“In their own way, they’re becoming experts, not just of their experiences but also of the data collection process.”

The oil and gas industry’s radioactive problem: Q&A with Justin Nobel

The oil and gas industry’s radioactive problem: Q&A with Justin Nobel

“Of all the levels of radium in produced water or brine around the world that I’ve looked at, I have encountered none that are consistently as high as what comes out of the Marcellus Shale.”

environmental justice pittsburgh

Environmental justice advocates find hope, healing and community in Pittsburgh

Advocates and researchers gathered to not only discuss ongoing fights but victories, self-care and cautious optimism about the path ahead.

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.