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Nearly 1,200 Coal Plants Proposed Worldwide: Report

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: November 20, 2012 Last Updated: November 21, 2012
Related articles: World » International
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An Indian laborer takes a break after loading coal onto trucks at the Kankaria Railway Yard in Ahmedabad on Sept. 5. India has proposed 455 coal plants to meet its soaring energy demand. (Sam Panthaky/AFP/GettyImages)

An Indian laborer takes a break after loading coal onto trucks at the Kankaria Railway Yard in Ahmedabad on Sept. 5. India has proposed 455 coal plants to meet its soaring energy demand. (Sam Panthaky/AFP/GettyImages)

Despite a constant stream of reports warning of the consequences of climate change, nearly 1,200 coal plants are being proposed around the world, an analysis shows.

The bulk of the proposed plants will be in China and India, with Russia and Turkey following suit, according to an analysis issued Tuesday from the World Resources Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. There are others planned in Australia, Europe, the United States, and 52 other countries.

But China has proposed 363 coal plants that will generate more than 550,000 megawatts and India wants 455 coal-fired plants to generate 500,000 megawatts, according to think tank senior fellow Ailun Yang, the author of the report.

According to the International Energy Agency, coal accounted for 45 percent of total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2011, outpacing emissions from oil and natural gas.

Yang noted that “not all of these projects will necessarily be approved and developed,” with the analysis only looking at proposed plants. “However, this research shows a significant—and troubling—interest in coal development globally,” she said.

China, which uses coal as its primary source of energy, “has been paying a huge price for its coal dependence in the form of increasing public health concerns, deteriorating ecosystems, poor air quality, more carbon pollution, and growing social tensions,” she writes. China currently consumes around 46 percent of the world’s coal, while the United States uses 13 percent, and India uses 9 percent.

Last year alone, more than 2,000 workers were killed in coal mine disasters in China, and an August report from environmental group Greenpeace said proposed coal plants threaten to further drain the Yellow River and make the Inner Mongolia territory more arid than it already is.

A number of developing countries including Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Laos, Morocco, Namibia, Oman, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan are also proposing plants, the report said.

And despite warnings from a number of environmental groups and now, the World Bank, the demand for coal might rise 21 percent by 2035, meaning that many of the proposed coal plants will likely come to fruition.

The World Bank, in a recent report, warned of a 4-degree Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in the global average temperature by 2100, along with an increase in unpredictable weather, heat waves, droughts, a decline in Arctic ice levels, a rise in sea levels, and other effects.

In India, the situation is a bit more complex, with hundreds of millions of people living without electricity.

“India’s coal-fired power capacity is rapidly expanding, similar to China’s experience over the last 10 years,” the report states. It added that many of these plants may not come to realization due to concerns over pollution, land seizures, the displacement of people, and coal availability.

And at the same time, India is looking to expand into developing renewable energy sources to meet its proposed target of using 15 percent renewable energy by 2020, it said.

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