China's Not Interested In Clean Coal

coal china

Here’s a stunner. China has no interest in making coal more expensive by using clean coal technology. Rather than graft on some expensive machinery to clean up coal, it would rather invest the money in other projects.

Bloomberg: China can achieve larger emissions cuts instead by spending money improving the energy efficiency of buildings and vehicles and investing in alternative power sources such as wind and solar, said Su Wei, director-general of the climate-change unit at China’s National Development and Reform Commission.

“Carbon capture and storage, particularly for China is not one of the priorities — the cost is an issue,” Su said in an Aug. 4 telephone interview from Beijing. “If we spent the same money for CCS on energy efficiency and the development of renewables, it would generate larger climate-change benefits.”

Exactly. The problem with clean coal is that it undoes one of the primary reasons for using coal–it’s cheap. As soon as you slap on CCS technology, that goes out the window. Spending the money on building something new seems like a better strategy than trying to improve the old.

That said, China could just be bluffing here. Bloomberg points out that China and the US have a memorandum of understanding to work together on clean coal. China could be letting the US test out clean coal, then when it looks promising, China can swoop in.

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