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China Builds More Cleaner Coal-Fired Coal Plants than US Print E-mail
by Tom McGregor    Tue, May 12, 2009, 08:04 pm

China’s ambitious construction of coal-fired power plants has raised concerns around the globe about the effect on climate change. Now, China uses more coal than the United States , Europe and Japan combined, causing it to be the world’s biggest emitter of gases that are warming the planet.

Yet largely missing in the hand-wringing are these facts: China has emerged in the past two years as the globe’s leading constructor of more efficient, less-polluting coal power plants, mastering the technology and dropping the costs.

In the meantime, the United States is debating whether to construct a more efficient type of coal-fired power plant that utilizes extremely hot steam. China has started building such plants at a rate of one a month.

The New York Times reports that, “construction has stalled in the United States on a new generation of low-pollution power plants that turn coal into a gas before burning it, although Energy Secretary Stephen Chu said Thursday that the Obama administration might revive one power plant, to be already approved for equipment purchases for just such a power plant, to be assembled soon in a muddy field here in Tianjin.”

Hal Harvey, president of Climate Works, an organization in San Francisco that helps finance projects to reduce global warming, said, “the steps they’ve taken are probably as fast as anywhere in power-generation history.”

Western nation continue to depend heavily on coal-fired power plants constructed decades ago with outdated, inefficient technology, which turns too much coal and emits significant amounts of carbon dioxide. China has already been requiring power corporations to retire an older, more polluting power plant for each new one they construct.

Cao Peixi, the president of the China Huaneng Group, the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility and majority partner in the joint venture building the Tianjin plant, claimed his committee was committed to the project although it would cost more than conventional plants.

The NY Times quotes Cao Peixi as saying, “we shouldn’t look at this project from a purely financial perspective. It represents the future.”

Without any uncertainty, China ’s coal-fired power sector continues to have many difficulties, and global warming gases from the nation are expected to still rise. China ’s objective is to use the most modern technologies to reduce the rate of increase.

Only half of China ’s coal-fired power plants maintain the emissions control equipment to remove sulfur compounds that result in acid rain, and even power plants with that technology do not always utilize it. The country has not started regulating some of the emissions that lead to heavy smog in major cities.

To read the entire article from the New York Times, link here:

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Comments (2)add comment
written by G S , May 13, 2009

This is very misleading. It mixes real polutants (e.g. sulfur) with green house gases (mainly CO2) and it is difficult to tell which it is talking about. I am certain that China is not controlling CO2, which is impossible to eliminate and extraordinaily difficult capture and retain. A pound of coal burned and released in China produces the same amount of CO2 as a pound burned in the most inefficent power plant in the U.S. If you believe in global warming, the hugh amount of CO2 being released in China a horendous problem.

written by Ken Dickson , May 14, 2009

Does anyone think the present administration in the U.S. would ever allow the real truth get out whatever it is when they are gearing up for the largest tax ever on the public? I think not!

China will "put us on the ground" with their economic growth, while we try to sell them our debt from a run-away administration with no checks or balances when it comes to taxes, debt, etc, much less reality as to pollution etc. .

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