Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Peak coal: carbon capture or the 'long sunset' of cheap coal?

This blog recently received a comment on the whole issue of 'cheap coal':

1 comment:

Piers Lyman said...
We need coal in cooking because we don't have an LPG.
Cheap Coal
Futures Forum: "The disingenuous campaign to promote coal as the solution to energy poverty"

Liquid petroleum gas might be 'better':
Why is LPG better than coal
LPG Autogas - the greener, cleaner and cheaper fuel alternative

The trouble is that it might not be available:
Forests and human health
Rural Energy - LPG, liquefied petroleum gas

And coal might be cheaper anyway:
Cheap coal threatens LNG's toehold in fast expanding Philippines | Reuters
ANALYSIS: Cheap coal trumps climate to elevate risk of high-carbon lock-in | Carbon Pulse

There is the issue of 'dirty' coal, though:
Coal Burning, Fossil Fuels, Pollution - National Geographic
Cheap coal is a lie – stand up to the industry’s cynical fightback | Al Gore | Opinion | The Guardian

This evening's Costing the Earth on Radio 4 looked at the issues:

Requiem for a King

Listen in pop-out player
Tom Heap tells the story of coal from Industrial Revolution to its apparent demise.
As the world begins to fall out of love with coal, is it too early to write its obituary?
Coal drove the Industrial Revolution in this country. It could be argued that it helped to put the 'Great' into Great Britain.
Now, at least in Britain, we're turning our back on the sooty black stuff. The last deep pit, Kellingley Colliery, closed in December 2015 and all of the coal-fired power stations in the UK are set to close in the next decade. Coal is on its knees.
But what about the rest of the world? China and the US have had an enormous appetite for coal and while both will continue to mine and burn the stuff for the coming decades, it is possible that we may have already reached 'peak coal' - the point at which coal demand will plateau, before declining.
Coal will continue to lift developing countries through the various economic growth. It is expected that areas of South Asia will continue to depend on coal to generate power but even in those places they are hoping to implement new, cleaner ways of burning coal. The fuel could be facing a 'long sunset'.
But is there a glimmer of hope?
Carbon Capture and Storage has often been hailed as a potential cure-all for Carbon Dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, so could it step in now to save coal before it is confined to the annals of history?
It may be too early to say. However in Canada there is one commercially operating plant. Many experts believe that we need CCS if we are going to seriously tackle our global CO2 emissions because, at least in the short term, coal will remain on his dusty throne for the coming decades.
Presenter: Tom Heap

BBC Radio 4 - Costing the Earth, Requiem for a King

There is also the question of cheap oil:
Is Cheap Gas a Bad Thing? | Foundation for Economic Education

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