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back to article BP world energy review: Chinese coal drives up CO2

Last year saw the highest surge in energy demand for almost 40 years, according to BP's 60th annual review* of energy. Despite record renewable energy production – with hydroelectric energy use rising 6.5 per cent – fossil fuel consumption surged to the highest level ever. Gas was up 7.4 per cent and coal, which still accounts …

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Debatable...

Whilst it is true that shale gas produces less CO2, methane, the primary constituent of shale gas, is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, and when the total impact on greenhouse constituents is considered, shale gas may be a greater contributor to global warming.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/e384226wr4160653/fulltext.pdf

As with all these things though, you can find arguments to support either point of view.

All the best

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Debatable...

Robert Kennedy Jr. -

"Since 2007, the discovery of vast supplies of deep shale gas in the US, along with advanced extraction methods, have created stable supply and predictably low prices for most of the next century. Of the 1,000 gigawatts of generating capacity currently needed to meet national energy demand, 336 are coal-fired. Surprisingly, America has more gas generation capacity – 450 gigawatts – than it does for coal...

"In an instant, this simple change could eliminate three-quarters of America’s coal-burning generators and save a fortune in energy costs"

"To quickly gain further economic and environmental advantages, the larger, newer coal plants that remain in operation should be required to co-fire with natural gas. Many of these plants are already connected to gas pipelines and can easily be adapted to burn gas as 15 to 20 per cent of their fuel. Such co-firing dramatically reduces forced outages and maintenance costs and can be the most cost effective way to reduce CO2 emissions.

"Natural gas comes with its own set of environmental caveats. It is a carbon-based fuel and its extraction from shale, the most significant new source, if not managed carefully, can have serious water, land use and wildlife impacts, especially in the hands of irresponsible producers and lax regulators. But those impacts can be mitigated by careful regulation and are dwarfed by the disaster of coal."

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/58ec3258-748b-11de-8ad5-00144feabdc0.html

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@Andrew Orlowski

"the discovery of vast supplies of deep shale gas in the US, along with advanced extraction methods, have created stable supply and predictably low prices for most of the next century. "

Interesting. I seem to remember Peabody Mining were big contributors to shrubs campaign.

However the *scale* of this resource (if Sen Kennedy's statement is accurate) is staggering.

The question is *would* this be used to make a serious effort to move to an energy system that is sustainable, *predictable* and/or continuous (wind scores badly on *both* counts).

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Great!

Good to see the world has embraced renewable.

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Flame

How much of this increase in the use of coal in China...

is used to make solar panels and wind turbines etc?

Could it be more CO2 is released burning coal to make the panels than is actually saved over the lifetime of the panel? Given this, one would think that solar thermal would be better use of time and effort, given it only needs some black pipes and some oil :-)

<potters off to shed to make own solar thermal panel, using nothing more than an old garden hose, tin of black paint (matt, not gloss), some large cable clips and some radiator fluid>

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Stop

PV energy payback < 4 years

Not this old canard again. The energy payback time for PV solar is at worst 4 years and is falling with new technology.

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy04osti/35489.pdf (PDF)

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Peak coal

China has to diversify its energy supply incredibly rapidly as it's facing an energy crunch in the next couple of decades. Domestic coal production is expected to peak in the next decade and go into a sharp decline, its oil and gas fields are either approaching, or at, peak production and it's seeing a decline in hydropower reserves because of long-term drought. Couple that to the need to keep 10% growth and the challenges they are facing are immense.

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Devil

No worries mate.

With the large amounts of money the US owes to China, I expect that sometime in the near future we'll grant them some of our coal mines in exchange for debt relief, which will mutually benefit both countries. Although perhaps not the miners working for the new rulers of their coal mines.

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Wow!

You know, from all the hype and flannel over micro generation, renewables, feed-in tariffs, green taxes, the dash to diesel, 'leecy cars and so on in Europe spattered over the meejah, you might almost begin to believe that it all actually made more difference than a wet fart in a hurricane.

Nice to see that set straight again.

Cue endless carping from the eco-nazi sheep over the source of the report and the big-oil conspiracy behind it....

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@TeeCee : Farts

"You know, from all the hype ... you might almost begin to believe that it all actually made more difference than a wet fart in a hurricane."

I think, proportionally, that "it all" makes significantly more difference than a fart in a hurricane - unless it is a truly spectacular fart - or an alarmingly underwhelming hurricane.

"Cue endless carping from the eco-nazi sheep over the source of the report and the big-oil conspiracy behind it...."

Funny how often remarkably similar comments appear each time - invariably followed by nothing of the sort.

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Paris Hilton

Options?

1) Nuke the BRIC contries and get nuked back but save what's left of the planet, who will then be free to, er, industrialise and undo all our good genocide.

2) Maintain our own efforts, to no avail, and not be ready for that rise in global temperatures.

3) Give up our own efforts and spend the money mitigating that rise in global temperatures.

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or 4) lift up the curtain

and find out who's making the puppets dance.

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Glenn has already answered that question. It's

Spooky Dude!

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@Luther Blisett

"and find out who's making the puppets dance."

Indeed. When bad things *keep* happening that everyone agrees *are* bad look for the cash flow.

*Someone* is backing a shed load of cash.

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Two wrongs don't make a right

The implied logic of the article (explicitly stated by some commenters) is that there is no point the EU doing anything to improve efficiency and increase renewable capacity because China is heading in the opposite direction.

This is wrong both ethically and practically:

Ethically because someone else's worse evil doesn't justify your own.

Practically because China will one day catch up and need to use (and potentially buy from us) all that energy-efficiency and renewable technology that we've developed.

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Trollface

a

Or they will put their money into something much more sensible and develop it themselves and leave us living with electricity rations and a massive economic disadvantage. Of course it won't matter by then because anyone with any sense will have left.

Enjoy your idyllic agrarian lifestyle while you can though - those with the technology (and fewer morals) may need some beasts of burden in the future for experimenting on, using as soldiers and whatnot.

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No but that statement is completely irrelevant because it ignores the first wrong

which was lying about anthropomorphic global warming in the first place in order to advance a socialist agenda.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Two wrongs don't make a right

Not quite.

"China will one day .... need to use (and potentially buy from us) all that energy-efficiency and renewable technology that we've developed."

Most unlikely, since China invests more in energy innovation than the West. If a renewable technology offers advantages over non-renewable technologies it will be able to develop it by itself.

The point is, the UK and Europe are unilaterally investing in poor technology hoping the rest of the world "follows our lead". It isn't doing so.

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Re: Two wrongs don't make a right

It'd be far better to put the money in to working out how to live with the inevitable situation than trying to stop it from happening, the money would be much more useful spent on dealing with the problems it is going to cause - because anyone who thinks developing nations are going to massively cut their own CO2 outputs is off on another planet.

As to China buying it from the EU - I doubt that, they'll either have some of their 2Bn population develop it, or steal it from someone in the EU - or just buy the whole company for pocket change.

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Happy

Meh

Peak coal sounds great, Australia can just sell them more, at a better price!

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