One 500-MW coal-fired power plant produces approximately 3 million tons/year of carbon dioxide (CO2).
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that to have a reasonable chance that global average temperature increases do not exceed pre-industrial levels by more than 2°C, then global carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced by between 50 – 85 % by 2050. To achieve this will require the application of all available low-carbon technologies at a scale and rate far greater than current efforts.
Fortunately for this generation the technology is available.
Eradication of coal-fired power plants is not viable but these like the mines can be regulated in order to align the industry with goals in sustainable development. Toward this, the role of government is to provide new permits (up to a certain limit) and renew old ones only to companies that have strategies addressing the effect of their business on the climate and environment. Nowadays, the right to do business is also about responsibility, that is, the responsibility of doing good business. The responsibility is not anymore just confined under Corporate Social Responsibility wherein the company can choose what to be responsible about but rather a critical aspect of the business model and strategy. For companies that run on this new intelligence, government regulation is unnecessary. But for companies that are not and insist to be not, government regulation is necessary.
Which of these plants have that strategy and are actually doing it? This is the sort of information locals, particularly advocates of the FOI Bill, should want to know.