14 April 2010

Climate Policy Mad Libs

An enlightening article in today's FT on the growth of coal powered energy in India, China and elsewhere allows us to play a bit of climate policy mad libs. First, an excerpt from the text:

Yet China is not the only force driving increased demand. India's huge and rising coal needs are just as critical. In effect, "Chindia" is redescribing the industry. "Coal is the fuel of the future for Asia," says Eoghan Cunningham, chief executive of GlobalCoal, a trading platform owned by miners, traders and utilities.

Emmanuel Fages, a coal analyst at Société Générale, forecasts that India will overtake South Korea as the world's second-largest buyer before the end of the decade. The increase in demand comes as New Delhi continues to expand its coal-fired power generation capacity. According to the World Bank, 40 per cent of homes in India are still without electricity. The country's authorities see coal as a "poverty alleviation" tool to spread electricity across the country.

The growth of South Korea and Taiwan is also likely to support the market as those centres switch from crude oil. At the same time Vietnam, a medium-sized expor-ter, has signalled that it might become an importer in three to five years as rapid urbanisation and industrialisation increase coal needs. Tran Xuan Hoa, general director of Vinacomin, the Vietnamese state-owned coal company, says the country might need to import 100m tonnes annually by 2020.

What of the west? The current weakness in Europe, Japan and the US is thought likely to prove a temporary consequence of recession; utilities, cement companies and steelmakers are set to buy large amounts this year, although in the longer term developed countries are moving away from coal in a bid to curb global carbon emissions. The rise in coal consumption in developing countries, particularly China and India, poses questions about this endeavour, in particular because the new coal-fired power stations will be consuming the commodity for the next 30 to 40 years.

Now the mad libs:

If India characterizes coal energy as "poverty alleviation," then those opposed to coal are also opposed to ________________.

The best way to deal with "poverty alleviation" without relying on coal energy would be to ________________.

Have fun!