China, India Stick With Coal as Air Worsens

Low cost, availability outweigh concerns over effects on climate
By Michael O'Connor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 14, 2007 4:19 PM CST
Chinese coal workers load coal into trucks in Baotou, nestled in the sand-sculpted ravines of Inner Mongolia, China, Tuesday, May 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Coal will remain the key source of power generation in China and India for the foreseeable future, the AP reports today from an energy conference in Rome, despite outside pressure on the countries to reduce carbon emissions. Leading officials urged the international community to help the booming Asian countries develop cleaner coal technology or suffer the climate-change consequences.

But as India works to bring electricity to 500 million people without power, officials maintain that coal, whose burning contributes to global warming, is the country's only affordable fuel. An International Energy Agency economist said he sympathized with the countries' dilemma, asserting that any emissions reductions plans must provide incentives for the countries to switch to nuclear or wind technologies.