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BC coal exports coming under scrutiny for contributing to greenhouse gases

Steel News - Published on Mon, 27 Feb 2012

Coal is fast gaining notoriety as the dirtiest fossil fuel and a growing source of global greenhouse gas emissions, all of which is staining the BC government\'s green climate-action initiatives.

Mr Dan Kammen a professor of energy at the University of California in Berkeley said that \"It\'s a curious inconsistency of the old economy and the new economy at the same time.”

In an interview he said BC must take into account not just carbon emissions within the province, but the full emissions resulting from its coal exports.

Mr Kammen who recently served as chief technical specialist for renewable energy and energy efficiency at the World Bank said that \"On one hand BC is an impressive innovator.”

BC\'s climate action initiatives include provincial greenhouse gas targets, low-carbon energy projects, the Carbon Tax Act, and the Pacific Carbon Trust.

He said that \"Like the US and Australia, BC also exports coal and that has to go on the books somewhere. That accounting is going to be controversial. No one wants to put pressure on a revenue producing and job-producing (export) industry.”

He added that \"But it\'s exactly the sort of thing we have to sort out as we figure how to institute a lower-carbon economy going forward.\"

According to BC ministry of energy and mines statistics, exports of BC coal totaled USD 5.1 billion in 2010. Ten mines employed more than 4,000 workers. More than an additional 10 coal mines are in various stages of permitting and exploration.

Those figures don\'t include increased exports of US coal through BC due to the absence of a coal facility on the US west coast.

Mr Dennis Horgan GM of Westshore Terminals at Tsawwassen, said that his company shipped almost 25 million tonnes of coal in 2010, of which about five million tonnes originated in the US.

Figures for 2011 are expected to be closer to 27 million tonnes, with increases, too, from the U.S.

Mr Kammen noted that if BC stops exporting coal to, say, China and takes a domestic financial hit other coal nations such as Indonesia or Australia could make up the difference. He said that \"This is not a transition you can be a puritan about.”

(Sourced from The Vancouver Sun)

Posted By : admin on Mon, 27 Feb 2012
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