Toxic Gases Emitted From the Burning of Coal - Case Study Example

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In the paper “Toxic gases emitted from the burning of coal” the author analyzes the major environmental threat in China – the toxic gases emitted from the burning of coal. Presently, no more than 15 per cent of the coal power plants of China have the flu-gas desulphurization…
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Toxic Gases Emitted From the Burning of Coal
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Toxic gases emitted from the burning of coal
Coal is the main source of electricity produced in China. “CHINA IS HOME TO THE WORLD’S SECOND LARGEST PROVEN COAL RESERVES AFTER THE UNITED STATES” (Tu and Johnson-Reiser para. 1). The major environmental threat in China is the toxic gases emitted from the burning of coal. Presently, no more than 15 per cent of the coal power plants of China have the flu-gas desulphurization (FGD) systems installed in them primarily because installation of the FGD systems not only would result in reduced efficiency of production by 4 to 8 per cent, but would also increase the price of electricity so much that an increase of 15 to 20 per cent in the electricity tariffs on average might be observed. Although the present system seems favorable for the Chinese consumers, yet “UNDERPRICING ENERGY REPRESENTS THE WORLD’S NUMBER ONE SUBSIDY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION” (Chandler 5). This imparts the need to increase the number of coal power plants in China with the FGD systems installed in them.
Presently, Chinese industries that directly burn coal are imposed sulfur taxes upon, but these sulfur taxes are too small to cause any reduction in pollution. “REGULATED OR NOT, ENFORCEMENT GENERALLY FALLS TO THE PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, WHICH MUST BALANCE ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS AGAINST ECONOMIC GROWTH PRIORITIES” (Rosen and Houser 36). As a Chinese leader, I would have to determine the optimal level to which the environment can be protected without compromising upon the economic growth of the industry. Installing fully operational FGD systems at all coal power plants in China is certainly not an option given the immensity of increase it causes in the electricity tariffs. So I would consider increasing the number of coal power plants with the FGD systems installed from 4 to 8 per cent to 20 to 30 per cent. This would hopefully cause substantial reduction in the emission of hazardous gases in the environment. “THE CHALLENGE FOR POLICY MAKERS IS TO DEVELOP STRATEGIES THAT HELP THE MARKET CONVERGE ON THE MOST COST-COMPETITIVE TECHNOLOGIES” (Chandler 5). In order to develop such strategies, I would place emphasis on encouraging market-based technologies that are feasible as well as on eradicating the barriers to the widespread use of those technologies.
Another area that requires my attention as the Chinese leader is the transportation boom as it happens to be a potential threat to the air quality in China. “SOME 14,000 NEW CARS HIT CHINA'S ROADS EACH DAY” (Elizabeth para. 9). Many people tend to think of transportation boom as a sign of development and a factor that increases the level of satisfaction and happiness of the citizens, but the reality is contrary to that. “IN A 2006 SURVEY, CHINESE RESPONDENTS RATED BEIJING THE 15TH MOST LIVABLE CITY IN CHINA, DOWN FROM THE 4TH IN 2005, WITH THE DROP DUE LARGELY TO INCREASED TRAFFIC AND POLLUTION” (Elizabeth para. 9). As the Chinese leader, I would make such policies that would deny any citizen the right to drive a car unless the permission has been sought from the concerned authorities for special or exclusive purposes. For the citizens, I would allow use of bicycles only.
Works Cited:
Chandler, William. “Breaking the Suicide Pact: U.S.–China Cooperation on Climate Change.”
May 2008.
Elizabeth, C. “The Great Leap Backward?” Foreign Affairs. Sep/Oct 2007. Vol. 86, Issue 5.
Rosen, Daniel H., and Houser, Trevor. “What Drives China’s Demand for Energy (and What It
Means for the Rest of Us).”
Tu, Kevin J., and Johnson-Reiser, Sabine. “Understanding China’s Rising Coal Imports.” Policy
Outlook. 16 Feb. 2012. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. Read More
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