MAC: Mines and Communities

Coal-fired climate change - not to mention acid rain

Published by MAC on 2006-08-21

Coal-fired climate change - not to mention acid rain

21st August 2006

The World Bank has been heavily criticised for its failure to adopt one of the most important recommendations of its Extractive Industries Review (EIR) - an immediate ban on all coal-related investment. It did, however, undertake to increase funding for "alternative energy".

Now it's come up with a "global energy" plan that promises a so-called "double dividend", increasing its commitments to renewable energy and energy efficiency to around 20% of its energy portfolio. Nonetheless - although the Bank has not directly sponsored a coal mine for the last four years - it's planning further heavy investment in so-called "advanced fossil-fuel" technologies which, say critics, will continue to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has won an important case against a major electrical utility, thus indirectly spurning the Bush administration's plan to allow coal-fired power plants to increase their output of nitrogen oxide (NoX) and sulphur dioxide (S02). A federal court has ruled that Duke Enery Corp. will violate the Clean Air Act should it expand its operations without introducing costly new pollution controls.

Norway's largest state-owned company, Statoil, has been instructed by the country's pollution control authority to instal, from the outset, carbon dioxide (CO2) "capture" equipment at a new gas-fired power plant. Statoil says this would cost it around US$635 million, and may jeopardise the project. Many Norwegians are opposed to such plants, while others claim the country no longer has any water sources which it can dam to create further hydro power.

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