It will pay not to use our last coal resources

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From: Chris Broome, Sheffield Campaign Against Climate Change, Hackthorn Road, Sheffield.

I WANT to pick up on a letter by Barrie Frost (The Yorkshire Post, June 27), in which he identifies key issues but belittles important evidence. He says: “It is frequently said that fossil fuels must be left in the ground.” Yes, that is being said – or implied – by the likes of the International Energy Agency, the UK Grantham Institute, the IPCC, the World Bank and the IMF.

Whilst it is difficult for many people to accept that it will not ultimately benefit us to exploit our remaining coal resources, there is abundant hard evidence that shows that to be the case. Mr Frost and others (The Yorkshire Post, June 4 and June 21) put forward carbon capture and storage – ‘clean coal’ – as a solution. Unfortunately, the first full scale UK CCS plant, ‘White Rose’, is unlikely to be completed in this decade. That plant should capture about 90 per cent of CO2 emissions The CCS equipment needs a substantial amount of power to operate it. Thus, by 2030, it will have above-average emissions for grid electricity, if an adequate decarbonisation target has been adopted.

The merits of CCS can be debated but it is not so good as to justify struggling coal mines being kept open, waiting to see if it can be proven.