|Rapidly growing economies, including China, increasingly rely on coal for cheap energy, jeopardizing efforts to reduce fossil fuel use worldwide. In this image, workers haul coal to barges in Fengjie for delivery to power plants downrive
King Coal and the queen of subsidies
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[Science 18 Sept 2015 vol 349 no 6254 pp 1286-7 DOI: 10.1126/science.aad0674]
- Coal is the most important energy source for Chinese economy.
This renaissance of coal is (1) expected to continue in the coming years &
(2) one of the reasons that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are
increasing despite the undisputed worldwide technological progress and
expansion of renewable technologies .
- The existing global energy infrastructure already commits 729 gigatons of CO2 (GtCO2) of future cumulative emissions over its lifetime.
- Over the past year, many nations have made commitments to reduce their domestic GHG emissions. [US reduce 32% below 2008 levels by 2030; Chinese emissions peak in 2030.]
- Relative price of coal explains its renaissance.
- But technological progress and economies of scale explain rapidly
declining costs of generating electricity from wind and solar power.
- Simultaneously, finance ministers around the globe subsidize fossil
fuels, mostly by enabling the sale of these fuels on the domestic market
below world market prices.
- Well-designed fossil fuel subsidy reform can easy poverty by access
to clean water and electricity.
- The lion's share of pretax fossil fuel subsidies is targeted at oil
consumption in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia.
- A report by International Monetry Fund (IMF) furthere explains:
- Fiscal spending fails to account for adverse external effects such
as GHG emissions, premature deaths through local air pollution, increased
congestion, and vehicle use.
- Posttax energy subsidies are higher than the pretax subsidies by a
factor of almost 10.
- Closing window of opportunity for successful price reform: investing in
coal-fired plants lock in carbon-intensive infrastructure.
[Must get prices right before infrastructure in place; correcting fuel
prices is in peril.]
- THM restatement: Bold national actions to align fossil fuel prices
with their true social costs could also remove important barriers for
Overall welfare and provide a major boost for international climate
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[Friday, 15-Dec-2017 07:18:58 EST]
Edited by: email@example.com on
Friday, 18-Sep-2015 13:34:40 EDT