Going back to the coal age

Skyrocketing prices for petroleum and natural gas have led some countries (Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Britain) to turn their attention to coal once more. About 50 coal-fired power plants across the continent are to become reactivated for at least 50 years. Promises of «clean» energy convince no one. Carbon, just like another solid fuel, our beloved lignite, emits terrifying quantities of carbon dioxide that have to be sequestered and deposited underground, although this process is only done on a restricted scale and would require international cooperation and billions of dollars in investments. According to the experts, instead of a reduction in world emissions of the gas – something that is being attempted on a large scale – there will be an increase of the order of 60 percent – from the current 27 gigatons to 42 gigatons n 2030. Environmentally aware Europe has made the biggest possible mistake. Instead of keeping high energy prices down, on the one hand, and on the other controlling carbon dioxide so as to boost the development of green technologies, it has gone over to the easiest, most financially profitable and destructive solution – coal. It has thrown the Green Bible out the window along with all discussion of sustainability or green innovation. Greed – as usual – has defeated concern for an environmental equilibrium. We here in Greece don’t have try to do anything worse than we already are. The energy sector (95 percent dependent on mineral fuels) is responsible for 82 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The Public Power Corporation (PPC) is responsible for half of all carbon dioxide emissions. And because PPC does nothing to reduce them, but on the contrary increases them, it will be subject to fines that the consumer will end up paying – electricity bills will be up by 140-450 euros per household per year. And that is where the concern ends. Apparently, the combustion of solid mineral fuels will not be abandoned as long as there are cheap available reserves – and there will be for another 200 years. There will be enough lignite for another 225 years. So why not burn it?