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the turn back to coal « Previous | |Next »
April 23, 2008

This is not good news---Europe returns to coal which produces more carbon dioxide than oil or natural gas; a return driven by demand, record high oil and natural gas prices, concerns over energy security and an aversion to nuclear energy. That's the logic of the free market.

In Australia Alan Wood of The Australian defends the turn to coal thus by saying that climate changers argue that:

Australia, with its abundant, high quality coal, should stop mining, exporting and using coal forthwith while we wait for carbon capture and storage (CCS in global warming jargon) technology to emerge. When might that be? ..... in the meantime the coalminers, coal companies and their shareholders, coal exporters, Australians generally - who have seen their incomes boosted by rising coal prices - and users of Australian coal in China and elsewhere can just sit on their hands.

He says that the resurgence of coal is driven mainly by booming power sector demand in China and India, with higher oil and gas prices making coal more competitive for baseload power generation. New coal-fired power stations with no CCS are being built apace in these two countries. They are also being built in those paragons of self-proclaimed climate change virtue, Britain and Germany, and being planned for NSW and Victoria.

Wood asks: 'Shall we stop all this, Prime Minister?' Of course, not is the implication. Economic growth is paramount not emissions trading. An emissions trading scheme doesn't stop the growth. It just makes coal pay for the externalities of the greenhouse gases it produces by using market mechanism.That requires government intervention.

Wood, and The Australian, thus becomes a defender of a coal industry that is opposed to change and wants the public to pay for its pollution. An old and familiar story.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:53 PM | | Comments (1)


I read the other day that China already has over 4000 large scale coal fired power stations.
And dont they open a new one every day or so.
How could that momentum ever be turned around.