Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Rushing to Burn Coal

Coal producers know that their dirty fuel's days are numbered. If concerns about global warming - burning coal pumps more carbon into the atmosphere per unit of energy generated than does either oil or natural gas - don't lead to coal's phaseout, then the rapidly dropping prices of solar and wind-generated electricity will make coal obsolete sooner or later.

Colombia's El Cerrejon coal mine,
near the Venezuelan border, owned 
by BHP Billiton, Anglo American 
and Glencore, also produces about 33 
million tons of coal annually. 
That's why coal producers, including Colombia's Drummond, face an economic reality. If they don't sell their coal soon, they might have to leave it in the ground.

So Drummond - and undoubtedly other producers - are planning to accelerate their coal mining, long term environmental impacts be damned.

Drummond produced about 33 million tons of Colombian coal last year, and plans to raise annual production to 35 million tons with hopes to one day reach 40 million tons. At that rate, perhaps, it can exhaust its Colombian reserves before before coal sunsets.

According to the great majority of the world's scientists - as well as basic common sense - pumping huge quantities of carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere is altering the planet's climate in fundamental ways. However, Drummond doesn't seem concerned - I didn't see a mention of climate change on the company's website - and neither does the El Tiempo newspaper, despite all its protestations about  environmental problems, headlined its interview with Drummond's Colombian CEO 'That's how things are done' and didn't mention global warming. And neither does the Colombian government, which claims to aspire to sustainable development while overseeing unrestrained resource extraction.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Stuart Oswald said...

Rather stupidly my country (Germany) is turning off its nuclear power stations. Another move to appease irrational climate campaigners who in many cases harm mother nature and humans as a whole.

Miguel said...

Actually, because Germany very stupidly shut down its nuclear reactors, it's now burning more coal - or, at least, buying more coal-generated electricity from Poland. Call it exporting your pollution.