Coal isn't just bad for the environment, but it poses economic risks as well. With impendingasking for some sort of regulation - new coal plants could end up costing customers a lot more on their utility bills.
The debate is playing out in Texas, where the utility TXU Corp. wants 11 new old-fashioned coal plants costing a total of $11 billion. The amount of global warming pollution they would release is about the same at 14 million extra vehicles. So far, three banks - Merrill Lynch,
Some banks are being tested in the public eye, like Citigroup, which it financing the TXU project. But Citigroup has also signed onto the Equator Principles; a set of guidelines used to determine social and environmental risks of a particular project, When asked how all these coal plants could meet the Principles, Shawn D. Miller, Citigroup's director of environmental and social risk management, explained to the Boston Globe,
"Currently, if a coal-fired power plant in the United States receives its environmental permits, receives an OK from relevant environmental authorities, goes through a public commenting process that allows locally-affected people and civil society to give their own point of view, and goes through our internal and independent environmental and social review, then I think it is meeting a robust standard."As Tim Greef, a global warming specialist with the National Resources Defense Council, put it,
"It is sort of like allowing [tobacco-maker]
Philip Morristo claim they are fighting tobacco addiction by asking their own employees not to smoke, while continuing to sell cigarettes to everyone else."