Monday, February 22, 2010

Fact of the Day: The Cost of Energy

Foreign media like The New York Times have touted China as leading the rest of the world when it comes to using green technology. The country has tons of wind turbines, households using solar panels to heat up water, and cutting electricity usage by installing lots of energy-efficient light bulbs.
However, the green energy produced only makes up for about 25-30 percent of China's total energy usage -- it still needs lots of coal to produce electricity, which means many more coal accidents are going to keep occuring.
The head of China's coal mining safety agency says the Middle Kingdom will need at least 10 years to improve safety in the country's coal mines.
Zhao Tiechui is head of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety. He recently admitted that China's mines are very dangerous, and that some coal entrepreneurs have little awareness of safety laws.
The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, reports that on average, seven miners were killed each day in 2009 for a total of 2,631. The number was 584 less than in 2008.
The worst official death toll was in 2002, when almost 7,000 miners were killed.
Most mine owners only think of the short-term gains -- but if they implemented better safety standards then there would be fewer accidents and fatalities and more coal could be mined. But in reality, these owners don't care one bit about their employees' lives, having enough money to pay for compensation to victims' families as well as snap up expensive apartments and Hummers.
So much for trying to be green.

1 comment:

ks said...

i understand china is buying coal from australia worth $60b usd. its energy technology still lags behind. but over the past decades great strides have been made. in a recent visit to guatemala we frequently experienced power outage. hotels have their own generators for emergency use.