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Coal & Climate: Ask Your Questions About Environmental Science

Juliette, Georgia
 Steam and smoke rise from the cooling towers and chimneys of the Robert W. Scherer power plant, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the U.S. It burns 12 million tons of coal a year.
Juliette, Georgia

Steam and smoke rise from the cooling towers and chimneys of the Robert W. Scherer power plant, the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the U.S. It burns 12 million tons of coal a year. Photograph by Rob Kendrick/National Geographic

We burn eight million tons of coal—the dirtiest of fossil fuels—each year, and the consequences are growing. In the April issue of National Geographic magazine, we asked the question: Can coal ever be clean?

What are your thoughts about clean energy? How about freshwater or the growing global population? Do you have questions about oil spills, the changing climate, or other environmental science-related issues?

This Friday, March 28 at 12:30 p.m. ET, join us for a live Twitter chat about environmental science with Michelle Nijhuis, author of the “Can Coal Ever Be Clean?” feature, and Dennis Dimick, executive editor of National Geographic magazine. Follow MichelleDennis, and @NatGeoLive on Twitter and tweet your questions using #NatGeoLive.


  1. richard
    March 17, 2016, 9:42 pm

    Why is it that nobody calls solar energy a perpetual motion fantasy but magnetism carries the stigma of madness as such? Magnetism is cheapest cleanest and most efficient renewable energy there is and it can be tapped into.

  2. Dipanjan Mitra
    March 28, 2014, 1:29 pm

    What science can restore forests? can science build trees?

  3. Ma. Guadalupe Ayala Guadarrama
    Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico
    March 28, 2014, 11:04 am

    This is the end of our world.

  4. August Sharma
    March 28, 2014, 10:55 am

    Why don’t we shift to solar and wind energy on mass scale ?

  5. mass yee
    March 28, 2014, 10:55 am

    What is the most efficient renewable energy?
    When will be the end of the use of fossil fuel ?

  6. Jill Ryan
    March 28, 2014, 5:51 am

    Why is there not a product, such as foam, to seal a ship when an oil spill starts t?I understand it wouldn’t work for an oil platform but it would for a ship, wouldn’t it?

  7. Nathan Pilkington
    March 27, 2014, 9:18 pm

    Will there be a turning point in this century by where renewable forms of energy are actually financially/energetically favorable and potentially could become the dominant source of the worlds energy needs?

  8. Chris
    Loveland, co
    March 27, 2014, 7:46 pm

    Why do people not realize how bad hybrids and electric cars are for the environment?

  9. Георги Кънев
    Sofia Bulgaria
    March 27, 2014, 7:27 pm

    About the future development of human civilization in economic and environment through physical knowledge, deciding the present debt problem of advantage countries in the world. If we track the historical development of the human civilization by research and knowledge achievement we can see that we are in the crossroad as it was many times in the past, when the money debt reflection becomes brake but not engine. That is result of profile of the made up investments in the past: if this investment is with little GDP result then the percentage of debt become unacceptable. So there is needed investment with large GDP result, or how often was in the past – war and extermination of all made up so far. However the last is already impossible (almost impossible!) despite that the world gradually is slips in this direction nowadays. So there is necessary cause about all over the world which can decide the environment problems as well. That proposal is super machine which I call Joromachine http://www.kanevuniverse.com which will produce so needed supmaterial where we can directly ignite thermonuclear synthesis if we make from this material rocket chamber, so we will have space craft which can move with speed close to the speed of light long enough, thus the between stars traveling becomes reality! USM also call us that our living time in our solar system and in our galaxy it isn’t so smoothly and insure how it is looks like now. The huge challenges lie ahead and they are matter of dead or live for us and all animals and plants about which we have responsibility! For example this machine – joromachine can produce electricity which will be more than enough about all Earth consummation and for the consummation of the machine itself and all this through clean energy producing – solar panels. It is truth that this machine will cost around 100 trillion dollars, but at the same time only as producing electricity the GDP will be around millions of trillions of dollars each year, if the price of the one kwhour costs no more than 1 US cent! Moreover this machine can act like air conditions about all the Earth if the climate is becomes hot or cold respectively! G.Kanev

  10. Enock
    March 26, 2014, 11:28 pm

    only if experts are used in the field specifically enviromental guys