Sunday, November 16, 2008

China's Coal Mine Fires Account for 3% of Worldwide CO2: What an opportunity!

We linked to a few stories on this ridiculous problem back in July and August 2007, "Coal Mine Fires Produce 3% of the World's CO2 Emissions" some great links in "New Process Promises To Reduce Costs Of A Clean-coal Technology" and from "What's Really Heating Up the Planet?":
How's this for a commentary on the priorities of the mainstream media. Here's Parade Magazine (Parade Magazine!!!) on a stupid problem that causes 3% of the world's CO2 emissions. Climateer Investing has had a couple posts. Kudos to Parade for recognizing the problem.

Coal-mine fires in China and India could be huge culprits in global warming. In China alone, up to 200 million tons of coal go up in flames each year—which may be equivalent to America’s total carbon-dioxide emissions from gasoline....
Yesterday the Kansas City Star pointed out how some folks want to charge the ratepayers in the developed countries for saving China's coal deposits, even though the value of the saved coal is $14 Billion per year*. The fire in question is one of the tiny, tiny ones but probably good for a five-fold cash on cash return, plus the value of the saved coal. I don't see why the Chinese government doesn't pay for it themselves. It's seems they consider the burning coal a bank account. The CDM setup is perverse From

The burning Shuixi Gou coalfield in far western China is terrible for the environment, belching smoke and noxious gases.

Some experts look at the fire, however, and see hope for progress against global warming.

That's because the burning coalfield in western Xinjiang province may not be that hard to put out. So it's become a guinea pig of sorts for the notion that big polluters in other parts of the world might pay to fix environmental problems in countries such as China to earn a break for themselves.

The notion dates to 1997, when some developed nations signed off on the Kyoto Protocol, a U.N. plan that obliges industrialized countries to reduce emissions of gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect that's warming the globe.

Hissing and venting near the town of Jimsar, the underground fire at the Shuixi Gou coalfield is thought to be emitting about 423,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year into the atmosphere.

That sum has a value. Carbon credits can be traded under a mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, and markets already have been set up.

If firefighters could extinguish the Shuixi Gou blaze, they could earn $10 a ton for the emissions they halt - about $4.2 million a year - for seven years, as long as they can ensure that the fire doesn't reignite. Earnings could easily top $20 million. That's how much European utilities or other companies might be willing to pay to offset their own pollution.

"That's a lot of money. Maybe for extinguishing the fire you need only $4 (million) or $5 million, so you can make money," said Horst Rueter, a German geophysicist who's studied coal fires in China....MORE

*Chinese thermal coal was recently priced at 540 Yuan/tonne. That works out to $71.79 per short ton and $14.35 Billion for the 200mm tons.