Synopsis: Coal contributes nearly as much total energy to the global economy as every other source – oil, natural gas and alternatives – combined. Increased use over the past decade has come mostly from the developing world, where it remains the cheapest and most reliable source of electricity. The rock that once fueled the Industrial Revolution is now remaking the global energy landscape. As the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions, however, it is also remaking the climate.
Takeaway: Instead of pursuing visions of a coal-free world, policymakers should support new technologies that reduce how much carbon coal emits.
For background see the CQ Researcher reports “Mine Safety,” June 24, 2011, and “Coal’s Comeback,” Oct. 5, 2007.
--Darrell Dela Rosa, Assistant Editor
Afghan Attacks Prompt NATO To Shift Policy
Synopsis: The escalating number of American and NATO troops killed by the Afghan forces serving with them has prompted a reappraisal of the war-fighting effort.
Takeaway: New policies include requiring American and NATO troops to carry loaded weapons, and assigning one or two soldiers to monitor Afghans during every mission.
For background see the CQ Researcher report “America at War,” Aug. 13, 2010.
--Thomas J. Colin, Contributing Editor