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21 Jan 2009 04:01:03

Limiting energy industry emissions 'cheapest way to cut carbon'

Limiting energy industry emissions 'cheapest way to cut carbon'
Limiting emissions from all large power stations in the EU would be the least costly way to cut energy related emissions, according to a new report.

Implementing an Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) for energy could reduce emissions from the EU power sector by more than two thirds, according to a study carried out for various environmental group.

The Ecofys study shows that introducing EPS – a limit on emissions per unit of energy - to supplement the existing Emissions Trading System would cut emissions by more than 800 million tonnes per year.

However, the report adds that the earlier the system is adopted the greater impact it will have and the more cost-effective it will be.

"The current EU Emissions Trading Scheme unfortunately does not prevent high polluting coal-fired power stations from being built," said Stephan Singer, director of WWF's global energy programme.

Energy companies currently receive free carbon emission credits instead of being forced to buy them all at auction.

Mr Singer added: "We need new emissions limits to ensure Europe invests only in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and CO2 capture and storage facilities for coal-fired power stations. Otherwise, Europe will fail to deliver its contribution to keeping global warming below two degrees Celsius."

Under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target brought in 2008, energy suppliers are obliged to reduce the carbon emissions of homes by 154 million tonnes by 2011.


Discussion Thread  

Duncan wrote:

22 Jan 2009

I can't seem to access the Ecofys website right now - but I'd be VERY interested to learn whether this 'emissions per unit' is inclusive of the whole lifecycle, or just the generating lifespan. For example, whilst nuclear plants have extremely low emissions per unit whilst generating, the emissions from construction and decommissioning are significant and would, no doubt, change the EPS goalposts substantially.

Also - how is CCS factored? Burying carbon underground seems like sweeping the dirt under the carpet - surely we're best leaving it in the ground to start with? Rather than looking at what comes OUT of a power station, why not look at what goes in? In that way there can be a clear distinction between renewable/sustainable power generation and unsustainable generation.

If we keep acting as if the carbon and pollution problems are short-term, we will increase the burden on future generations. It seems like elementary mathematics that the most abundant energy sources are those that are closest to the primary energy sources - e.g. electromagnetic radiation from the sun, gravitational pull of the moon and internal heat from the earth - so solar, wind, tidal, wave and geothermal?

Discussion Thread  


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