Vietnam’s government has announced plans to build 90 coal-fired plants over the next 15 years even while being listed as among the top 11 most vulnerable nation’s to climate change in the world, according to Eco-Business.
Vietnam says the coal plants are necessary because the economically booming nation has undergone frequent energy shortages, recently exacerbated by drought that diminished the output of Vietnam’s hydroelectric dams. The government has stated it will put in $83 billion to build the coal plants, which will double Vietnam’s energy production by 2020, altogether providing over 100,000 megawatts.
In March 2010, the World Bank, Denmark, France, and Japan pledged $790 million to Vietnam for climate change mitigation.
Coal fired energy is the among the world’s most carbon intensive energy sources. In fact, two 2009 reports in Nature found that if the world wants to stay within ‘safe levels’ of climate change, i.e. average temperature not rising 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, then coal must be abandoned altogether unless carbon capture and storage (CCS) proves effective.
(05/31/2011) Global carbon emissions hit a new high last year proving once again that international political efforts, hampered by bickering, the blame-game, and tepidity, are failing to drive down the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing the planet to heat up. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), following a slight fall in carbon dioxide emissions due to the economic downturn, emissions again rose to a new record level in 2010: 30.6 gigatons. This is a full 5 percent higher than the past record hit in 2008. The new record puts greater doubt on the international pledge of limiting the global average temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius.
(05/25/2011) The far-flung Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), located in the Pacific Ocean, has created legal history by challenging the decision to extend the life of a massive coal plant in the Czech Republic. The over 600-island nation, Micronesia, argues that greenhouse gas emissions from the Czech plant are impacting the way of life in Micronesia, many of whose islands are facing submersion under rising sea levels.
(02/20/2011) According to the global market coal is cheap, yet a new study in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences finds that the hidden costs of coal are expensive, very expensive. Estimating the hidden costs of coal, such as health and environmental impacts, the study found that burning coal costs the US up to $523 billion a year. Dubbed ‘externalities’ by economists, the paper argues that these costs are paid by the American public.