Coal strikes back… globally

I once wrote that peak oil might push countries to get back to coal. It is already the case as the International Herald Tribune states it in a recent article.

Indeed in Japan and the UK, old coal mines are reopening or see their activity increase. This albeit the fact that coal is by far the most emitting carbon dioxide emitting solution.

I sometimes wonder at how such solutions can be considered with all the fuss that is made on climate change and the very urgency of its mitigation.

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Coal strikes back… in Europe ?

I knew that Germany had plans to build coal fired plants. Little did I know that according to this great article from the IHT other European countries like Italy are willing to do so.

In 1958, I wouldn’t be surprised or anything, but in 2008, with the growing fears of a full scale global warming, I am simply puzzled that somebody even think about it in Europe.

It seems that the low carbon alternatives – renewables, efficiency and nuclear – are disregarded and simply not thought about.

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There is no perfect energy generating solution

When I was writing in October my article on the clean alternatives to coal, I was planning to add at the bottom a page summing up the pros and cons of each solution.

I never did so but still found this document interesting as it sums up quite well the situation at hand. Each and every possibility has darker sides.

You will find below my findings on the various energy sources, as well as on fossil fuels like natural gas and oil.

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Two news on Chinese energy for the price of one

Both the Financial Times and the Worldwatch Institute provided me monday with interesting data and news on the Chinese energy market.

Good news : the country is willing to get 30% of its electricity via renewables by 2050. Bad news : the growth of energy consumption last year was of 16.2 percent.

This wouldn’t be a problem if this 90 GW increase wasn’t fuelled for 85 percent by coal-fired plants, which are by far the most CO2 intensive and most polluting solution.

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More and more tests of Carbon Capture and Storage

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is one of the main solutions to decrease the greenhouse gases emissions of coal-fired plants.

However there is no commercial application yet, but several programs are on their way in North America, Europe or China.

The oil-producing countries from the OPEC also plan to work on this technology as it enable to keep on using fossil fuels. I will review here the main projects.

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A look at the clean alternatives to coal

Today’s article is on coal as I am interested by this energy source and the possibilities to clean it up.

A question of importance as it is the dirtiest energy source to date. According to the data I had access to, coal emits around 975 grams of CO2 per KWh; natural gas, 530 ; nuclear around 20 and solar PV, around 30.

Most fortunately there are five complementary means at our disposal to make coal a cleaner energy source that will allow us to keep on using it.

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APEC agrees on climate change

apec.jpgLast week, the countries of the Asia Pacific region (APEC) committed themselves to curb their greenhouse gases emissions by working on energy efficiency, renewables and the management of forests.

A good news as this group of countries holds 41 percent of the population and comprises the United States and China, the world top greenhouse gases emitters.

However, the goal that was set is too little and do not includes restraints, but it is still a step in the right direction. I will detail here this news that is truly encouraging.

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Air pollution in Hong Kong

As I wrote previously on this website an article on China and the pollution issues it is facing, I wanted to go deeper in this important problem. This is why I will exemplify with the case of the Hong Kong administrative region.

Hong Kong (also known as HK) is a 6.9-million people urban area constituted by more than 260 islands. It is located in Eastern Asia, and is bordering the South China Sea. Hong Kong has 30 kilometres of regional borders with the People’s Republic of China. This large city has the privilege to enjoy more than 700 kilometres of coastline, which makes it a perfect harbour.

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