NASA scientist: ban coal plants now!

Alex from WorldChanging sez, "We just published a new letter from NASA's Jim Hansen, in which he essentially says the world can't afford to burn coal any more, and we should have a moratorium on coal-burning (except perhaps in a new generation of power plants with carbon capture and sequestration technologies)."

The resulting imperative is an immediate moratorium on additional coal-fired power plants without CCS. A surge in global coal use in the last few years has converted a potential slowdown of CO2 emissions into a more rapid increase. But the main reason for the proposed moratorium is that a CO2 molecule from coal, in effect, is more damaging than a CO2 molecule from oil. CO2 in readily available oil almost surely will end up in the atmosphere, it is only a question of when, and when does not matter much, given its long lifetime. CO2 in coal does not need to be released to the atmosphere, but if it is, it cannot be recovered and will make disastrous climate change a near certainty.
Link (Thanks, Alex!)

(Image ganked from Jay Dugger's Flickr photostream: Unknown Coal Plant Near Saint Louis, Missouri)