It's the Environment, Stupid.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

China shutting down more coal mines

According to an AP article, the Chinese province of Shanxi is slated to shut down 900 additional coal mines. Around 1,1500 have been shut down since July of 2005 as part of a coal-mine safety campaign launched last year.

However, one big question not posed (or answered) in this AP brief is how will China make up for the coal production lost from the closing of these mines? Considering 70% of China's power is generated from (old technology-thermal) coal fired power plants, and overall energy consumption is expected to increase, the coal will have to come from somewhere. Will it come from increased production in other mines? Will China turn to more open-pit coal mines (requiring less labor and increased environmental destruction)?

While the closure of these mines may be a boon for worker safety, there are additional issues that should be addressed.

Side note: if you haven't already, you should read Jeff Goodell's book Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future.
And thanks to my friend Shawn for fwd the coal story to me.

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