Friday, December 05, 2008

Clean Coal = Healthy Smoking

it is still bad, no matter how little the burning is.

An article on CNN quoting, Al Gore, ".... but Gore, who said that "clean coal" was like "healthy smoking", is convinced that we need to change our habits now."

The argument should not be interpreted as "don't use", but "use wisely".

The discussion is about prevention vs. control. A group of population conserving energy by changing their habits, doesn't translate to reduction in the electricity generation. The generation still continues to happen (and grow) and get diverted to a different population group. But, in theory, the incremental change that might have taken place because of the new population becoming on-grid, is avoided.

By changing our habits, we prevented the growth and by controlling the consumption at the generators, we are reducing the possible pollution levels. However, we are in need of large scale interventions, than clean coal technologies.

The climate change gurus might say this is important for saving the environment on a long term basis, but the near term air pollution, which is interlinked with the climate change, needs immediate attention.

If you look at the numbers projected by WHO on the possible mortality rates due to air pollution, the need to focus on local criteria pollutants, such as particulate matter, is now.

As the quote says, smoking even one cigarette is harmful.. however clean it may be. So, even if the power plant is using the cleanest of the coal, even if a group is using the low emission car abiding all standards, there is nothing better than not using or using less.

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