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Asian Coal Boom: Climate Threat or Mirage?

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Reports of a ‘coal boom’ in Asian Tiger economies are wide of the mark, report concludes

Claims that Asia is on the verge of a huge expansion in coal burning for electricity generation are incorrect, says a new report.

The report, Asia’s Tigers: Reconciling coal, climate and energy demand, argues that the Asian Tiger economies with the world’s four biggest coal power project pipelines, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, are likely to build far less than half of their current planned coal plants.

The four ‘Asian Tigers’ have 1,824 plants either in planning or under construction – more than two-thirds of the world total. But the report concludes that the number actually built in the next five years will fall far short of 1,000 plants, and is likely to lie in the region of around 500.

In addition, the proportion of time for which coal plants in both India and China are actually being used is falling, so increasing capacity does not necessarily mean increasing coal-related emissions. In China, coal burning is falling even as new plants come online.

The report’s author Gerard Wynn, consultant at GWG Energy, said: “These findings suggest that claims of an Asian coal boom that will derail climate change pledges made at the recent Paris summit are wide of the mark.

“In fact, the evidence suggests that the shift away from the dirtiest fossil fuels in favour of cleaner forms of energy is happening much faster than anyone could have expected.

“The report’s assessment of new capacity that will be built may even be an over-estimate once the Paris Agreement comes into effect, as it will further restrict financing for new coal projects.”

The report identifies a number of factors that are likely to constrain the number of coal plants built:

  • Worldwide, from 2010-2015, shelved or cancelled coal power proposals out-numbered completed power plants by two to one. For India, the ratio was four to one, with 390 GW cancelled since 2010 compared with 98 GW completed;
  • Both India and China have built more plants than they need, leading to plants being used for less and less of the time, which in turns reduces profitability. In China, the utilisation rate fell from 60% in 2011 to below 50% last year; and overall coal burning fell last year, even as coal-fired capacity expanded. For India, the load factor has fallen from a peak in 2008 of above 78%, to below 65% last year, and this trend in falling utilisation rates is likely to continue. This reduces the economic case for new build;
  • Concern over air pollution in the four Asian nations, especially China and India, are prompting governments to enact curbs on coal use, including India’s carbon tax on coal;
  • Policy shifts in these countries will further constrain coal-fired power generation. For example, China’s domestic targets unveiled in the run-up to the Paris summit imply the building of an additional 800-1,000GW of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero-emission generation capacity by 2030;
  • The successful conclusion of the Paris climate summit last December is expected to accelerate existing investments in energy efficiency and low-carbon generation, and also restrict available financing for global coal projects. The Paris Agreement confirms that $100bn per year will be available for developing nations, much of which will assist them to enact their full climate and clean energy pledges. Vietnam announced that as a result of the agreement it is reviewing its coal expansion plans.

Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “This report belies the notion that coal will be forever King in Asia, further undermining the already spurious argument that there’s no point in countries such as the UK reducing carbon emissions because cuts will be obliterated by China and India’s coal burning.

“It’s worth noting too that money is moving away from coal, with the world’s largest private company Peabody hovering on the edge of bankruptcy and investors such as JPMorgan Chase and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund pulling out of coal.

“Asian countries will build new some new coal-fired power stations, but lack of finance, air pollution, the growth of low-cost renewables, the Paris factor – all suggest that the total will be far less than the headline figures imply.”

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Consumers Investing in Eco-Friendly Cars with the UK Green Revolution

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Eco-Friendly Cars

The UK public appears to be embracing the electric car UK Green Revolution, as recent statistics reveal that more and more consumers are making the switch from petrol and diesel to electric or alternatively fuelled vehicles. The demand for diesel fell by almost a third in October compared to last year, whilst hybrid and electric cars rose by a staggering 36.9%.

Time for UK Green Revolution Change

So, what is the reason for this sudden change? This comes down to the current situation in the UK, which has led to people embracing eco-friendly technologies and automobiles. One of the main reasons is the Government’s clean air plans, which includes the impending 2040 ban on petrol and diesel automobiles. There is then the rollout of the T-Charge in London, the city of Oxford announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel from the city centre by 2020 and various other big announcements which take up a lot of space and time in the UK press.

h2>Diesel’s Reputation

In addition to this, the negative publicity against diesel has had a huge impact on the UK public. This has led to a lot of confusion over emissions, but actually, the newest low emission diesel automobiles will not face restrictions and are not as bad to drive as many believe. Most notably, German brand Volkswagen has been affected due to the emissions scandal in recent times. It was discovered that some emissions controls for VW’s turbocharged direct injection diesel engines were only activated during laboratory testing, so these automobiles were emitting 40 times more NO in real-world driving. As a result of this and all the negative publicity, the manufacturer has made adaptations and amended their vehicles in Europe. Additionally, they have made movements to improve the emissions from their cars, meaning that they are now one of the cleaner manufacturers. Their impressive range includes the Polo, Golf and Up, all of which can be found for affordable prices from places like Unbeatable Car.

The Current Market

The confusion over the Government’s current stance on diesel has clearly had a huge impact on the public. So much so that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called on the Government to use the Autumn Budget to restore stability in the market and encourage the public to invest in the latest low emission automobiles. SMMT believes that this is the fastest and most effective way to address the serious air quality concerns in this country.

Incentives

One way that the Government has encouraged the public to make the switch is by making incentives. Motorists can benefit from a grant when they purchase a new plug-in vehicle, plus there are benefits like no road tax for electric vehicles and no congestion charge. When these are combined with the low running costs, it makes owning an electric automobile an appealing prospect and especially because there are so many great models available and a type to suit every motorist. One of the main reasons holding motorists back is the perceived lack of charging points. However, there are currently over 13,000 up and down the country with this number rapidly increasing each month. It is thought that the amount of charging points will outnumber petrol stations by 2020, so it is easy to see more and more motorists start to invest in electric cars way ahead of the 2040 ban.

It is an interesting time in the UK as people are now embracing the electric car revolution. The Government’s clean air plans seem to have accelerated this revolution, plus the poor publicity that diesel has received has only strengthened the case for making the switch sooner rather than later.

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How To Make The Shipping Industry Greener

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green shipping industry

Each and every year more damage is done to our planet. When businesses are arranging pallet delivery or any other kind of shipping, the environment usually isn’t their number one concern. However, there’s an increasing pressure for the shipping industry to go greener, particularly as our oceans are filling with plastic and climate change is occurring. Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there to help with this. Here’s how the freight industry is going greener.

Make Ship Scrapping Cleaner

There are approximately 51,400 merchant ships trading around the world at the moment. Although the act of transporting tonnes of cargo across the ocean every year is very damaging to the environment, the scrapping of container ships is also very harmful. Large container ships contain asbestos, heavy metals and oils which are toxic to both people and the environment during demolition. The EU has regulations in place which ensure that all European ships are disposed of in an appropriate manner at licenced yards and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced guidelines to make recycling of ships safe and environmentally friendly back in 2009, but since then only Norway, Congo and France have agreed to the policy. The IMO needs to ensure that more countries are on board with the scheme, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are some of the worst culprits for scrapping, which may mean enforcing the regulations in the near future.

Reduce Emissions

A single large container ship can produce the same amount of emissions as 50 million cars, making international shipping one of the major contributors towards global warming. Stricter emissions regulations are needed to reduce the amount of emissions entering our atmosphere. The sulphur content within ship fuel is largely responsible for the amount of emissions being produced; studies have shown that a reduction in the sulphur content in fuel oil from 35,000 p.p.m to 1,000 p.p.m could reduce the SOx emissions by as much as 97%! The IMO has already begun to ensure that ships with the Emission Control Areas of the globe, such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, are using this lower sulphur content fuel, but it needs to be enforced around the world to make a significant difference.

As it’s not currently practical or possible to completely phase-out heavy, conventional fuels around the world, a sulphur scrubber system can be added to the exhaust system of ships to help reduce the amount of sulphur being emitted.

Better Port Management

As more and more ships are travelling around the world, congestion and large volumes of cargo can leave ports in developing countries overwhelmed. Rapidly expanding ports can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, take Shenzhen for example, it’s a collection of some of the busiest ports in China and there has been a 75% reduction in the number of mangroves along the coastline. Destroying valuable ecosystems has a knock-on effect on the rest of the country’s wildlife. Port authorities need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and ensure that further expansion is carried out sustainably.

Some have suggested that instead of expansion, improved port management is needed. If port authorities can work with transport-planning bureaus, they will be able to establish more efficient ways of unloading cargo to reduce the impact on the environment caused by shipping congestion.

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