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ACCCE releases study on the benefits of coal

World Coal,

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) has released a landmark study on the benefits of coal to global development. The report finds that the benefits of fossil fuel energy to society far outweigh the social costs of carbon (SCC) by a magnitude of 50 to 500 times.

ACCCE CEO, Mike Duncan, commented: "It is without question or debate that our national and global societies have benefited from fossil fuels. And those benefits will continue to be realized from coast to coast and around the globe for generations to come. If this Administration attempts to calculate the future costs of carbon, it’s imperative that policymakers also consider the actual and potential benefits of our carbon-based economy. Fossil-based energy has powered three industrial revolutions, including today’s ?technology revolution. It has increased life expectancy, improved the quality of life, supported the cause of liberty, and brought hope to every civilization that has used it. I would hope that legislators and regulators understand this and enact and support policies that continue the responsible use of fossil fuels – especially clean coal.”

According to the study, The Social Costs Of Carbon? No, The Social Benefits Of Carbon, over the past 250 years global life expectancy has more than doubled and incomes have increased 11-fold in large part due to increased energy production and delivery, most of which has been fossil-based.

Social costs vs. societal benefits
Despite an estimate by the Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) that the social cost of carbon (SCC) stands at US$ 36/t, the actual societal benefits of carbon, as a by-product of energy production, is 50 to 500 times greater than the perceived cost.

Lead author of the report, Dr. Roger Bezdek, added: “Even the most conservative estimates peg the social benefit of carbon-based fuels as 50 times greater than its supposed social cost. And the benefits are actual fact; founded on more than two centuries of empirical data, not theoretical summaries based on questionable assumptions, dubious forecasts, and flawed models.”

The report explains that coal is the world’s fastest growing energy source and has increased almost as much as all other fuel sources combined. Much of this growth is in emerging economies such as China and India, which are beginning to realise the social and economic benefits that reliable, affordable electricity can bring. It is expected that coal will continue to be the leading global fuel for electricity generation for at least the next three decades. Moreover, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), fossil fuels will provide 75 – 80% of the world’s energy for the foreseeable future.

CCS technology
In the US, coal remains the largest source of fuel for baseload electricity generation supplying almost 40% of the nation’s electricity. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making it increasingly difficult for clean coal energy to survive in the US. The agency’s proposed rule for new coal-fired power plants, the New Source Performance Standard (NSPS), has been widely criticised for its unachievable requirements. NSPS requires the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) for all new coal-fuelled power plants, a technology that is not yet commercially viable.

These regulations apparently ignore the US$ 130 billion the industry has invested in clean coal technologies that have already reduced emissions by almost 90% over the past forty years.

Duncan concluded: “Fossil fuels have provided the energy to improve farming yields, grow manufacturing and business, and are now powering data servers and even the Cloud. And while we have all benefited from reliable, clean coal electricity, there are still those who seek to end this American form of power. More and more, this Administration has abdicated its energy policy to the EPA whose regulations will shutter existing coal power plants and thwart the construction of new ones. We would hope that evidence in support of the benefit of fossil fuels, including clean coal, will help bring common sense to the regulatory process.”

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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