Washington University Students for International Collaboration on the Environment

Coal Challenge Looms in China and India

I found this article from the New York Times. Elisabeth Rosenthal said that

“…in terms of future emissions, the larger coal problem is in emerging economies, particularly China’s, rather than in Europe or the United States. Economic growth in China is now powered largely by coal. If current trends continue, coal use will decrease in Europe by 2050 but will more than double in China and in India, according to projections by the International Energy Agency. Even if there is a significant shift to cleaner forms of power by that date, the growth of each country will spawn enormous emissions along the way.

That is why Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the International Energy Agency, who spoke on Wednesday at Columbia University, said that when it comes to climate change, the “single most important issue is how to get China to deploy carbon capture and storage into its coal sector.

Through the technique known as carbon capture and sequestration, emissions are trapped and buried like waste. But the technology is still in its infancy, with only a handful of projects up and running globally, and expensive to deploy. Who will cover the cost? ”

Even though the technique “carbon capture and sequestration” is not a new phrase, I’m ashamed to admit that I heard it from this article for the first time. Thus I suppose most people who are not major in environmental science may feel foreign to this method which seems to be useful in reducing the emissions of CO2 in China. Here is the introduction of CCS from the Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_capture_and_storage

It is only recently that several countries have begun to apply CCS into practical use. Also, this technique in China is still in its embryonic stage that Chinese government has not paid much attention to it. But if this technique proves to be efficient and feasible in industrial scale, it may turn out to be a possible choice to reduce carbon dioxide emission worldwide.

–Alice (Delegate from Fudan University)


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