Friday, September 14, 2007

Like it or not, coal is vital to Asia’s growth

Combined with the post below this is turning into a "Point-Counterpoint" skit. I'm waiting for Dan Ackroyd to Grace us with "Jane, you ignorant slut".

Here's the dirty truth about coal in Asia, from Spiked:

...Fair enough. What is not so fair, however, is for Western commentators to use the APEC summit to hector China, South East Asia, Korea and also India, a non-member of APEC, about what economists call ‘choice of technique’ in energy supply. These nations, Western environmentalist opinion now insists, should eschew the use of coal and instead embrace cleaner forms of energy.

Welcome to the haughty presumptions and condescending commands of Green Imperialism. The East, we are told, should not follow Cardiff, King Coal and the dirty Victorian way. It should not develop by following the path of soot along which, in decades gone by, we in the West so foolishly mired ourselves.

Rather, the East should face up to its twenty-first century planetary responsibilities, and accept that its current enthusiasm for coal (but also its enthusiasm for cleaner nuclear energy) is dangerously misplaced.

Paul Brannen, head of campaigns at Christian Aid, expressed the new dogma in a letter to the UK Guardian: ‘Carbon has fuelled the rich world’s wealth and development.

But the devastating impact of climate change means that poor countries cannot now develop in the same way.’ (1) Coal, it is felt, is ‘not an option’ for the developing world. Yet in fact, coal will be an important source of energy for the whole world for many decades to come.

In 2005, there were just over 700 billion tonnes of reserves of hard coal and lignite in the Earth. North America had about 200 billion, Russia and its environs 150 billon, India and China 75 billon each, and South Africa 40 billion.

The contribution of coal to power generation in different countries reflects its disposition: in 2003, it accounted for half the power generated in the US, two-thirds of that in India, 79 per cent of China’s power, and 93 per cent of South Africa’s (2). Altogether, coal is far from being a legacy of the nineteenth century. Though it was vital to the industrialisation of Britain then, it remains a sine qua non for three of the key economies of the twenty-first century – America, India and China....Much More