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Cleaner coal key part of energy supply: environmentalists

by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Nov 26, 2007
Coal power stations will remain central to the world's energy supply for the next 40 years, but they must slash emissions to avoid pushing up global temperatures, an environmental group said Monday.

The plants could still provide 20 percent of the world's energy needs in 2050 with only a limited rise in temperatures if they used technology that could capture carbon dioxide, said Ina Pozon, co-ordinator of WWF International's Asia Pacific Coal Initiative.

"Governments must get industry to prove the viability of clean coal technologies, otherwise social and environmental impacts of local pollution and global climate change will prohibit large scale use of coal," Pozon said.

The WWF released two reports on Monday that examined whether there could be a reduction in global carbon dioxide emissions by 60 to 80 percent, while still accepting that worldwide energy demand would double by 2050.

The study found that a combination of more renewable energy, drastic efficiency improvement and cleaner coal and gas, could meet the target.

"Asian nations can't just keep relying on coal as a cheap and available source of energy, but need to boost energy efficiency and become serious about renewable energy now," Pozon said.

One of the WWF reports said the true cost of coal in China, if it reflected its full social and environmental impact, would increase by 56 percent from its current price.

The increase would make the cost of coal similar to that of wind technology, the report said.

Currently, coal accounts for about 70 percent of China's primary energy consumption, more than 40 percentage points higher than the world's average.

The reports come days ahead of a key United Nations climate conference in Bali, where world leaders will attempt to produce a roadmap to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The emissions are blamed for dangerous global temperature rises, which could lead to rising sea levels, increased drought and elimination of thousands of species.

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British, Chinese to study China's energy
London (UPI) Nov 21, 2007
British scientists said they are in China to study the feasibility of building coal-fired power plants capable of capturing and storing carbon dioxide.

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