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What will climate policy mean for coal?
Date:3/31/2014

generated and, therefore, the need for new power plants.

"The best strategy would be to stop building new coal power plants starting today," says Johnson. However, the researchers also explored what would happen in a perhaps more realistic case, if governments are not yet willing to limit new plant construction. Johnson and colleagues in IIASA's Energy Program also examined two additional strategies with this limitation: grandfathering existing plants so that they are exempt from future climate policies, or retrofitting plants with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), a yet unproven technology that would capture greenhouse gas emissions and store them underground.

However, both of these strategies create a major risk that average temperatures will rise above the 2C goala target set by international agreement in order to avoid the most dire consequences of climate change. While the grandfathering strategy would allow power plant operators to keep the old ones running, it would lead to greater emissions and reduced chances of limiting climate change to the 2C target.

And while CCS could theoretically be used to retrofit coal power plants, the study shows that hundreds of power plants would need retrofitting in a short period of timea lot of pressure on a technology that as yet remains both technically and politically uncertain. "CCS could buy us time, but what if it doesn't work? It's a risky strategy," says Volker Krey, a co-author on the paper.


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Contact: Katherine Leitzell
leitzell@iiasa.ac.at
43-223-680-7316
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Source:Eurekalert

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