Letter: Overheating world threatens all life

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Sir: It is time for drastic measures. Comments made at the Meteorological Office's conference on Tuesday suggest that time is running out for Antarctic ice sheets, sea levels and coral reefs. We have to pursue the new technologies available to us and reduce emissions before it is too late.

While renewable energy is important within a balanced energy policy, coal can be relied upon whether or not the wind is blowing. It is vital that we do something about the UK's coal fired energy plants, which currently provide a third of our energy and an even greater proportion of the energy output in places such as China. If we are to reduce emissions at home and abroad, we have to look at cleaning up fossil fuels, as suggested by Blair last week at Davos.

We are developing technology to ensure all emissions from coal plants are captured before reaching the atmosphere, but the technology is already available to reduce emissions to 60 per cent of current levels. This technology is already being used in China but has insufficient government backing in the UK. It is cost effective, safe and environmentally sensitive. The cost of installing this technology across the UK coal-fired fleet is less than the cost of implementing the equivalent reductions using renewable sources.

The UK needs to act now to find a balanced energy policy that reflects its needs for diversity and security of supply. Our industry would invest in clean coal technology tomorrow if there was stronger commitment from the Government. What are we waiting for?


Chief Operating Officer

Mitsui Babcock Energy Ltd

Crawley, West Sussex