Kyoto is barely a drop in the bucket

The Kyoto treaty will not do much to curb greenhouse gases, because high natural gas prices and the demand for energy from developing countries are fuelling the need for coal-fired plants, says the Christian Science Monitor.

By 2012, three countries – China, India and the United States – will produce an extra 2.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide. According to the CSM:

  • China plans to add 562 coal-fired plants in the next eight years, India will add about 231 coal-fired plants and the United States will add 72.

  • The three countries will add 327,000 megawatts of power by 2012, equal to the current output of the United States' coal-generated power.

  • The new coal plants will emit about 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

  • Fifty-eight other countries are expected to fire up 340 new coal-fired plants over the next 10 years.

    In contrast, the Kyoto treaty will reduce greenhouse gases by a mere 483 million tons. The estimate of future CO2 emissions is based on the assumption that coal-fired plants will be about 10 percent more efficient than they are now.

    The United States is developing new technologies for coal-fired plants. The most promising is Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC), which attempts to capture CO2 before it is released through the smokestack, says CSM.

    Source: Mark Clayton, New Coal Plants 'Bury' Kyoto, Christian Science Monitor, December 23, 2004.

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    For more on Global Warming: Treaties

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 18 January 2005
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