Clean coal can cut ru­ral emis­sions

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

clean coal in heat­ing and cook­ing in vil­lages is a prac­ti­cal way to con­trol air pol­lu­tion. But the gov­ern­ment must pro­vide sub­si­dies to en­cour­age farm­ers to re­place the cheaper bulk coal with clean coal, and make it eas­ier for farm­ers to buy clean coal near their homes, thep­a­ com­mented onWed­nes­day:

The en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion bureau in­North China’s Shanxi prov­ince, a main coal pro­duc­ing re­gion, re­cently con­ducted an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the se­ri­ous air pol­lu­tion in Lin­fen city, and found sul­fur diox­ide is the main air-borne pol­lu­tant, which is largely pro­duced by lo­cal farm­ers’ burn­ing bulk coal for their win­ter heat­ing.

The farm­ers have used bulk coal to heat their homes for gen­er­a­tions. And while China is rich in coal re­sources, it is rel­a­tively poor in oil and nat­u­ral gas re­sources. It is also un­re­al­is­tic to sup­ply clean en­ergy in a short time over such a large ru­ral area. There­fore, it is im­prac­ti­cal to end coal con­sump­tion com­pletely in a bid to re­duce the air pol­lu­tion.

How­ever, clean coal could be used, which is even more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly than nat­u­ral gas, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion.

Al­though the Lin­fen gov­ern­ment has said it will do so, it should draw­lessons from the fail­ure of clean coal pro­mo­tion in­He­bei and Shan­dong prov­inces.

The ma­jor ob­sta­cle is the high price of clean coal. Gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies are nec­es­sary. But in poor ar­eas, the gov­ern­ment sub­sidy is gen­er­ally too low to fill the price gap be­tween bulk coal and clean coal, so the farm­ers will con­tinue to use bulk coal.

There is also a prob­lem with the ac­ces­si­bil­ity of clean coal. Ac­cord­ing to the rule in many places, farm­ers must re­port the quan­tity of clean coal they need for a whole win­ter to the vil­lager com­mit­tee be­fore a dead­line, and the gov­ern­ment will trans­port the coal to the vil­lage, once for a year.

As many farm­ers work as mi­grant work­ers in ci­ties, they usu­ally miss the dead­line, and it is much more con­ve­nient for them to buy bulk coal from road­side sell­ers in Shanxi.

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