Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Cost Of Coal On The Environment

Date:
May 6, 2007
Source:
World Wildlife Fund
Summary:
A worldwide rush to use 'cheap' and dirty coal to supply power is threatening to impose huge costs to the environment and the global economy.

Weisweiler power plant , coal-fired (lignite), run by RWE. Near Aachen in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany . Lignite on conveyor belt. According to a WWF study, this power plant is number six of the worst climate polluters in Europe.
Credit: Copyright WWF-Canon / Andrew KERR

A worldwide rush to use “cheap” and dirty coal to supply power is threatening to impose huge costs to the environment and the global economy.

In a new briefing paper released today to coincide with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) meeting about the economic impacts of climate change, WWF shows that the short-term economics which are driving the use of coal to generate cheap power have created a “fool’s paradise” that will lead to profound long-term problems.

The report — Are the costs of using coal higher than the cost of cleaning it up? — outlines the fact that in the last four years, coal use around the world grew by 22% (BP, 2006) – a major factor behind the record 3% per year rise in global CO2 emissions (International Energy Agency (IEA), 2006).

According to the IEA, CO2 emissions from energy sources may grow by up to 90% by 2030 unless governments act rapidly (World Energy Outlook 2006, BAU scenario).

This potential increase in global coal use is driven by its increasing use in China, India and Russia for power stations, as well as a fresh rush for coal in countries like the United States and European Union nations resulting from higher natural gas prices and power plant replacements.

“Coal is an extremely dirty source of power, and imposes huge costs on people’s health, the environment and the economy," said Keith Allott, head of WWF-UK’s climate change programme.

"Unless governments agree to clean up coal and promote clean alternatives, coal will remain the fuel of choice, particularly in the emerging economies of Asia-Pacific. It is not helpful to simply blame these countries for their use of coal. Governments and industry should recognize that there are high costs in the use of traditional coal use and instead invest in the deployment of pollution reduction technologies.”

Reports on the impacts of climate change on China predict a 37% decline in wheat, rice and corn yields in the second half of the century. Rainfall may decline as much as 30% in three of China's seven major river basins. A rise in sea level of 1m will submerge an area the size of Portugal along China's eastern seaboard — home to more than half the country's population and 60 percent of its economic output.

India has already seen a surge in heat waves over the past century and a rising death toll due to heat stress in more recent years. Serious floods in its north-eastern states in July 2005 killed over a 1,000 people and economic losses amounted to more than US$250 million.

The cost of electricity from coal is expected to double by 2030 to US$40–55 (per mega-watt hour, MWh). The additional cost of using carbon capture and storage for coal may raise the price to US$60–90 per MWh (IEA 2005, 2006 / IPCC 2005).

Even if there was no price on carbon, clean renewable technologies like wind, geothermal power and solid biomass will be cost-competitive with conventional coal by 2030. If however, the true cost of coal was factored in to its price, these sustainable low-carbon technologies would be even cheaper than coal today.

The WWF briefing paper sets out a series of steps that need to be taken to reduce the global coal dependency and move toward a future where energy supply is both reasonably priced, sustainable and is not contributing to climate change. “We can solve the climate change problem, but it needs concerted international efforts right now," Allott added.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by World Wildlife Fund. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

World Wildlife Fund. "The Cost Of Coal On The Environment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070504151722.htm>.
World Wildlife Fund. (2007, May 6). The Cost Of Coal On The Environment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070504151722.htm
World Wildlife Fund. "The Cost Of Coal On The Environment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070504151722.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Commercial aircraft deliveries rose seven percent at Boeing, prompting the aerospace company to boost full-year profit guidance- though quarterly revenues missed analyst estimates. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Car Market on the Rebound?

Europe's Car Market on the Rebound?

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Daimler kicks off a round of second-quarter earnings results from Europe's top carmakers with a healthy set of numbers - prompting hopes that stronger sales in Europe will counter weakness in emerging markets. Hayley Platt reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
9/11 Commission Members Warn of Terror "fatigue" Among American Public

9/11 Commission Members Warn of Terror "fatigue" Among American Public

Reuters - US Online Video (July 22, 2014) Ten years after releasing its initial report, members of the 9/11 Commission warn of the "waning sense of urgency" in combating terrorists attacks. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins