MAC: Mines and Communities

Clean coal energy - or a clear con?

Published by MAC on 2007-05-22

Clean coal energy - or a clear con?

22nd May 2007

In an attempt to boost coal usage, but still come off as "clean power" generators, Rio Tinto and BP recently announced they were planning to construct a plant with virtually zero carbon emissions, and had set up a new company, "Hydrogen Energy," to do so.

But, with further information forthcoming on the plan, it doesn't look as simple or as as charmed as might have initially been assumed. The plant will depend on CO2 "storage" on the seabed, and a carbon trading regime being in place - as well, no doubt as substantial public funding since " the costs of low-carbon power generation are higher than traditional power generation ." Last week, Juan Figuerola, forestry coordinator for the Costa Rican Conservation Federation, added his voice to a growing consensus that carbon "capture" is "…,a deception to allow polluters to continue to pollute with makeup to mask it." [PlanetArk 25 May 2007.]

As for actual "clean power" generationfrom truly carbon-neutral sources - that doesn't seem to enter the picture and, for Rio Tinto at least, would require a sea-change in policy.

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