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The Warsaw Voice » Other » December 3, 2008
Technology
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In Pursuit of Clean Coal
December 3, 2008   
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Piotr Kędzierski, Head of Communications at the Polish subsidiary of the Swedish energy company Vattenfall, which helped launch the Polish Clean Coal Technologies Platform:

The security of energy supply has been one of the most frequently debated topics these days, which is only natural because the price and availability of energy sources have an immediate effect on the economy.

Economic growth and prosperity are impossible without access to energy. At the same time, the impact of energy production on the environment is not just local, but global, which is something we began to fully realize only recently. Coupled with the simple truth that the deposits of fossil fuels will run out one day, the great interest in energy security comes as no surprise.

The definitions of security can differ in their scope, but I believe the security of energy supply deserves a broad definition that includes such notions as long-term and global effects on the climate. I am not entirely convinced by the claims that Poland should obstruct European efforts for climate protection in order to protect its own energy security. As far as the choice of methods to achieve this goal is concerned, we have to be tough in the negotiations, but a single-fuel energy sector based on coal is bound to encounter problems sooner or later. Coal is not a renewable energy source and not all coal deposits are fit for economically justified extraction. For the sake of its own energy security, Poland needs to seek new energy sources and develop clean coal technologies, as they are called. After all, coal as such is not a problem for the EU and the United Nations; it is the carbon dioxide generated during the process of burning coal that is the problem. Several months ago, Vattenfall launched the world's first installation for the research of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS).

The work on the CCS technology is in progress and might prove to be a chance to reconcile coal with the European and global objectives in climate protection. If pessimistic scenarios come true-and long-term threats have to be taken into consideration in issues of energy security-then global climate change may harm the Polish economy. For this reason, Poland's energy security needs broad consideration in a global perspective.
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