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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
An inconvenient truth
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Khaleej Times, November 15, 2012
 

The world is changing; opinions are changing, economies are changing, values are changing and the environment is changing.

The environment is arguably the most important thing that is drastically transforming. This global warming, as we know it, is being caused by the burning of fossil fuels — emitting CO2 and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. These fuels are burned in cars, in our homes and first and foremost in power generating stations. One of the primary fuels burned in power stations is coal and lets get one thing straight from the start: burning coal is not clean.

As a part of this rapidly transforming world, power companies are also changing. Despite the fact that most of the power generated in the world is generated using fossil fuels (as opposed to clean alternatives like wind, solar and nuclear) and is responsible for global warming, these companies have shown little or no willingness to stop burning these dangerous elements. Instead, these companies have decided to use marketing and technology to circumvent the problems they are causing and the biggest marketing ploy of them all is “clean coal”.

Coal itself is a fossilised form of the element carbon, which is formed from organic materials compressed over millions of years underneath millions of tons of earth. The coal is extracted in deep mines spread across the world. Coal mining itself is a dangerous business, not only are miners exposed to low-oxygen, carbon-rich environments for hours a day but there is the ever-present danger of mine collapses, explosions and machinery failures. However, the most dangerous part of the lifecycle of coal is when it is burned.

When burning coal, it is impossible to avoid the emission of CO2 as it is the main byproduct of combustion of organic materials. When a company claims they are producing power with ‘clean coal’ what they really mean is something entirely different. The coal itself is not cleaner, nor is the process of burning it; what is different is what they do with the byproducts after the coal has been burned.

In the past, the smoke from burning coal was simply vented into the atmosphere out of enormous smoke stacks, which allowed the smoke to cool and be released higher up to avoid it causing contamination on the ground. Little did they know back then that this was actually letting the CO2 and other dangerous greenhouse gasses get a tiny head start on clogging our atmosphere.

Today, modern technology allows us to even the scales slightly. Using advanced filters, coal power plants can actually capture most of the carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses, preventing them from being released. This process, while beneficial has many drawbacks, chief among which is that scientists have not fully figured out what to do with the carbon dioxide once they have captured it. Some systems bury the CO2 underground (which means it will be released later) and other systems use chemical processes to convert the dangerous chemicals into more inert ones. None of the systems are cheap — eliminating coal’s main benefit — and none of the systems are 100 per cent efficient.

So, what does this all mean? Coal cannot be burned cleanly — despite what any politician or company head says — though you can capture the byproducts and attempt to prevent them from being released into the atmosphere. These processes, however, are a waste of money. Coal companies spend millions of dollars a year on research to make their pollutant product safer and millions more to promote this technology to the public. Why not instead spend that money on clean and renewable energy development? Even if you make the burning of coal have no environmental impact, it is still a non-renewable energy source and we need to focus on the future when there will be no more carbon to burn. If every research and marketing penny spent on ‘clean coal’ were spent on transitioning away from coal and towards truly clean energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal and nuclear, its safe to say we’d have a much greener world.

 

Frank-Jürgen Richter is chairman and founder of Horasis, a global visions community


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