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Energy

Herrington Lake in Kentucky

Photo by .matter./ CC BY-NC 2.0

Reprinted with permission from DCReport

Retiree Julie Pease and her husband moved into their modest lakefront home near Herrington Lake in Kentucky eight years ago, but she won't eat the fish. The lake is polluted by coal ash from the nearby power plant.

Team Trump recently pushed back the deadlines for utilities to close an estimated 523 leaking, unstable or dangerously-sited coal ash ponds. Kentucky Utilities, which operates the E.W. Brown power plant in Harrodsburg, Ky., closed its main coal ash pond in 2008, but the six million tons of coal ash that remain at the site has polluted Herrington Lake.

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Photo credit: Jernej Furman

Some say the pandemic has become a permanent ally in the fight against climate catastrophe. It has jump-started a drop in the burning of fossil fuels, and that will continue. Others say this is short-term thinking: The public may abandon its concerns over global warming as it tries to climb out of the economic hole left by the COVID-19 lockdowns. Let's accentuate the positive.

First off, the government-mandated social distancing and its freezing of much industrial activity has already cut greenhouse gas emissions, certainly for the time being. The International Energy Agency predicts that global carbon emissions will have fallen about eight percent this year from 2019's level. That would be the biggest annual decline ever.

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