Aleksander SOBOLEWSKI, Andrzej CZAPLICKI ? Institute for Chemical Processing of Coal (IChPW), Zabrze, Poland
Please cite as: CHEMIK 2013, 67, 5, 387?398
Access to energy sources is the very basic prerequisite of civilisational and economic development, and long-term forecasts imply that the mankind will demand 2.5-3 times more energy in the year 2050 than in 2010. In the 20th century, this demand was mainly satisfied by means of fossil fuels. It is them that one definitely owes the unprecedented economic growth of the last hundred years. However, there are also numerous symptoms implying that the age of fossil fuels is at twilight due to depletion of their deposits. The mankind will face the necessity to particularly rely on nuclear power and renewable energy sources. Under the Polish conditions, the highest hopes are certainly linked with biomass as well as wind and solar energy .
For many years, numerous organisations have appealed to alert the world about the global warming menace. However, even this trend has encountered opponents. The world of science is divided, and those that have decided to go over to the other camp include the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), among many others. In an official statement, PAN?s Committee of Geological Sciences explicitly claims that one cannot be certain whether anthropogenic CO2 is indeed the main factor of climate changes .
In order to be able to monitor climate changes, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was opened for signature in 1992, being a venture that brought the member states together to develop the famous Kyoto Protocol .This Convention that more than 160 countries joined within only two years, has become the most important international association for climate protection. The Convention is oriented on the well-being of future generations (as our generation will not experience the impact of global warming yet).
Perhaps, as Al Gore claims, we have reached the development point in which ?our civilisation is already capable of destroying itself? . Sustaining the current particularistic economics and the social stratifications it imposes leads to an ecological catastrophe with the range of impact far more extensive than just the survival of the western civilisation.
Our current way of living was moulded in the 1950s, in times when an intense consumption growth only applied to tens of millions of people in America and Europe, still it did not entail the issues of wasteful exploitation of natural resources or the Earth?s climate changing. By now, this lifestyle has spread over more than a billion people, and it has turned out that we have already exceeded the capacity of our planet?s ecosystem. And further billions of men are waiting to join us in the consumerist way of life. If they succeed, the consumption of fuels and raw materials will increase multiple times, and so will the emission of greenhouse gases.
CO2 emission and the Earth?s climate
The concept of the anthropogenic origin of the global warming phenomenon has been proved scientifically, and the latter?s negative effects considerably hampering the civilisation?s progress is an opinion shared by an abundant and influential group of scientists and politicians, members of the IPCC. An opposing hypothesis, namely that that anthropogenic global warming is negligibly small compared to natural changes taking place in the climate, observed many a time throughout the history of our planet, is expressed by a circle of scientists representing independent institutions, organisations and non-profit foundations .
According to the official statement of the Committee of Geologic Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences, constant variability is to be considered as a one of basic properties of climate. Claiming that, they have mainly referred to extraterrestrial factors. Climate changes are affected by the Sun, the Milankovitch cycles, clouds, aerosols, volcanoes, plate tectonics or circulation of oceanic currents. Carbon dioxide is but one of many factors influencing the climate changes .
From the global balance perspective, the anthropogenic quantities of CO2 are of trace relevance at the outmost. The main source of thermal energy is the solar radiation. The annual sum of thermal energy of anthropogenic origin is more than one hundred times smaller than the volume of solar energy reaching the surface of the Earth within one day only. These disproportionate quantities prove that the impact of human activity on natural phenomena is negligibly small, since the amount of heat from the Sun is 40 thousand times larger than the amount of heat produced in combustion of all types of fuels . CO2 is also a natural component required by plants. Scientific studies conducted for many years have confirmed that green areas (including farmlands) are in fact lacking carbon dioxide . The predominant share in our planet?s greenhouse effect is attributable to steam. Its content in the Earth?s atmosphere varies in time and differs depending on individual areas of the planet (between 40% and 95%) which results from the cycles of water circulation in the natural environment due to the processes of evaporation, condensation, sublimation and desublimation. The human activity is rather insignificant in terms of the direct impact on the content of the said greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
Since 1988, the IPCC have been analysing this situation, and their opinions can be brought down to the following conclusions:
? climate changes occur and they are caused by the human activity
? the average temperature increase in the 21st century will come to 2-4°C, but it may even reach as high as to 6.4°C within the next decades, causing the Earth?s climate to regress to the state from before tens of millions of years
? from a global perspective, the consequences of climate changes will prove definitely negative to the mankind
? by the year 2050, the annual emission of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere must be reduced by 50-85%.
To recapitulate the above consideration, certain studies imply that there is no functional dependence between the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and its temperature , whereas other researchers maintain that CO2 emission does affect the climate. Therefore, it seems reasonable to claim that scientists do not speak with one voice as to the reasons for the global warming phenomenon.
European Union?s climate policy
Grounds for the European Union?s climate policy were laid down in 2000 by establishing the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP) which constitutes a combination of voluntary actions, good practices, market mechanisms and information programmes. One of the most important instruments of the EU?s climate policy in the scope of climate protection is the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). The trade in greenhouse gas emissions conducted in the European Union member states was formally implemented on 1st January 2005 together with the enactment of Directive 2003/87/EC of 13th October 2003 establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC .
Poland joined the Kyoto Protocol on 13th December 2002 and, like other states accessing the EU on 1st May 2004, it had been forced to individually meet specific obligations envisaged in the Kyoto Protocol by 2012. Since 1st January 2005, Poland has also been participating in the Community?s scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading. The basic objective of the emission allowance trading scheme for greenhouse gases and other substances is to reduce these emissions in an economically viable and efficient manner.
The European Union played the leading role in the international negotiations pertaining to the Kyoto Protocol. There is a political consent as to the fact that European countries will be forced to assume a far more restrictive emission limits in the future. An agreement in this respect was concluded by the EU leaders at the Brussels summit in March 2007. It was also when the EU Council undertook, regardless of the final outcome of the international negotiations concerning the obligations to apply after the year 2012, that the European Union will unilaterally reduce the greenhouse gas emission by 20% until 2020 (compared to the status of 1990) or even by 30% provided that other developed countries assume the obligation to reduce their emissions by similar values.
The most important instrument applied to perform these obligations is the ?Package of implementation measures for the EU?s objectives on climate change and renewable energy for 2020,? commonly referred to as the climate and energy package, proposed by the European commission on 23rd January 2008 and subsequently approved by the Council in March 2008.
The climate and energy package is a set of actions and legal regulations proposed to facilitate the transformation process leading towards a low-emission and low-carbon economy. The goals assumed are to be achieved by various means, including technological innovations, energy consumption reductions, pursuing independence from fossil fuels as well as changing the principles according to which the emissions trading scheme functions. All of them are supposed to considerably increase the utilisation of renewable energy sources and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in Europe.
However, forecasts imply that continued implementation of the current European energy and transport policy, instead of reducing the greenhouse gas emission in the EU, will increase it by ca. 5% by the year 2030. In order to prevent this unfavourable scenario from happening, the European Commission has proposed to establish new energy policy priorities, such as:
? increasing the energy efficiency by 20% until the year 2020
? increasing the share of energy from renewable sources in the total final energy consumption in the EU to 20% until the year 2020 and increasing the share of biofuels in the consumption of transport fuels to 10%
? reducing the greenhouse gas emission by at least 20% compared to the status of 1996, and the Community considers an option of introducing even a 30 per cent reduction goal
? adopting a strategic plan for modern power engineering technologies, including development of technologies for the CO2 storage in geological formations.
On 9th March 2012, the European Union Council debated in Brussels on environmental problems. The meeting was planned to enable making the relevant decisions on adopting a long-term climate and energy policy setting the CO2 emission reduction objectives by 2030, 2040 and 2050, published in the previous year in the form of the 2050 Road Map. The objectives proposed by the European Commission, assumed to reduce the emission of CO2 by 40% until 2030, by 60% until 2040 and by 80% until 2050, would exert a huge impact on the EU economy .
In order to solve the growing problem of unbalance between supply and demand of emission allowances under the EU?s emissions trading scheme, the European Commission submitted a formal motion to alter the schedule of auctions and postpone the sale of 900 million tonnes of CO2 worth of emission allowances at the third stage of the EU ETS which began in 2013 . The surplus of emission allowances is mainly a consequence of the economic crisis which caused the industry to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions to a degree higher than expected which, in turn, led to a smaller demand for emission allowances among enterprises . Although the very philosophy and challenges of the EU?s climate policy bring benefits, still for the power engineering industry participating in the climate package (and primarily with regard to the way it is being implemented) it turns out to be extremely unfavourable and expensive, and so it raises more and more doubts .
Certain analysts claim that the current EU energy policy will not last until the year 2020, since it may not survive the clash with economic reality. One cannot implement a policy of high energy prices when the changes taking place in the global market lead to the gas prices decline. Hence the objectives assumed for the RES may become less stringent, as the same happened for the reduction objectives envisaged in the Kyoto Protocol, when it occurred that not all countries were equally consistent in their fulfilment of the obligations imposed upon them. The EU?s actions inducing specific efforts to be undertaken for the sake of low-emission economy will loose their momentum and cease to be considered as a major factor. What may also be the case is that the concept of replacing the EU ETS with a carbon tax will gain supporters, for such a solution may be perceived as beneficial from the perspective of highly indebted state budgets.
Impact of the EU?s climate policy on the Community?s economy
In order to evaluate the EU?s climate policy, it worthwhile focusing on the far-reaching concept of integration of climate and energy related objectives, or rather the predominance of the former, to be more precise. The starting point was an assessment of what was necessary in the sphere of climate change prevention, and to the priorities thus established the energy policy instruments were adjusted. This approach complies with the assumptions of the sustainable development concept, one that has not been actually put into practice so far. The decisions made by the Commission are encumbered with non-uniform consequences for various member states. The countries to experience the climate policy drawbacks to the largest extent will be those that rely on carbon-based fuels in their power engineering industry as well as those where high energy consuming sectors of economy play a significant role .
The climate policy, and the climate and energy package in particular, has encountered considerable resistance of industrial circles, especially among the representatives of traditional sectors consuming the largest amounts of energy, which will definitely face the most serious obstacles and incur the highest costs implementing the policy. And this reluctance is not only to be observed in Poland, but also in other European countries. Those lobbying for numerous industrial sectors are threatening to move the production outside the EU where no such severe and costly environmental standards apply.
And even the interests of the EU member states are not compatible. For instance, more than 90% of Poland?s energy is generated based on coal, whereas in France, the share of nuclear power in the power engineering sector is only slightly smaller. The costs of energy production in France are currently among the lowest in Europe. Hence from the French perspective, imposing demanding CO2 emission standard upon the EU member states would not involve the necessity of incurring very high costs. On the other hand, it would definitely enable them to improve the relative competitiveness of the French economy compared to their rivals .
However, France is not the only EU country to potentially benefit from introducing legal restrictions on the CO2 emission and developing green technologies. Germany has already become the worldwide leader in technologies of energy generation based on solar radiation. It is one of the reasons why the leading German corporation Siemens has already managed to attain as much as 25% of turnover from the sales of photovoltaic cells, and they are planning to increase this result to 40% by 2014. Danes specialise in wind energy. Vestas is the leading concern in this field of expertise as they manufacture ca. 15% of all wind turbines installed all around the globe .
According to the European Commission?s calculations, the EU member states, including Poland, will have spent 1 billion euros to comply with the EU regulations pertaining to climate changes by 2020, i.e. within the next 7 years. The energy prices will consequently rise very considerably. Within the recent six years, the electric energy price in the European Union has increased by 125%. The Polish Ministry of Environment calculated that, in the years 2000-2010, Poland spent EUR 30 billion based on the internal budget only to adapt to the climate related requirements imposed by Brussels. The CO2 emission reduction and the transition to renewable energy by the year 2030 will require Poland to spend as much as EUR 92 billion. Hence the CO2 emission reduction solution proposed by the Commission for the years 2013-2020 seriously threaten Polish companies, especially those operating in the paper, chemical and cement industries .
The perspective of a considerable increase of energy prices is currently the most serious menace to the countries where industrial investments are to be allocated. The problems have actually already started. ThyssenKrupp, the largest German metallurgical concern, has announced that should the electric energy prices be raised, they will dismiss 5,000 employees, and their warning is not be considered hollow as the company has already sold a steel production plant in Krefeld to a Finnish competitor, Outokumpu, which intends to move the production home. The reason for their decision is a lower kilowatthour price in Finland .
The solutions proposed by the European Commission may also negatively affect the economy of our country, mainly due to the unfavourable impact on the power engineering sector based on brown and hard coal. It is already known for sure that the climate and energy package implementation will cause a considerable increase in the energy generation costs in Poland. It is estimated that in the years 2020÷2030, Polish power plants will be forced to spend EUR 5-7 billion per annum purchasing the carbon dioxide emission allowances. These costs will immediately be transferred to the electric energy prices incurred by final recipients which, in turn, may be reflected in a number of additional economic and social costs. Also the competitiveness of the Polish products present in the EU market will be challenged, which particularly applies to the ones whose advantage relies to a considerable extent on lower energy costs.
Commissioned by the Polish Electricity Association, the EnergSys company developed a study entitled The 2030 Report (Raport 2030) taking the provisions of the climate and energy package into consideration . Their analyses did not only cover the power engineering sector, but the report also comprised the entire economy as well as the condition of households. The comprehensive assessment it included assumed the perspective of the climate and the socioeconomic policy. Individual sections of The 2030 Report also provide an assessment of the developmental capacity for the CCS (Carbon dioxide capture and storage) technology or renewable energy sources. The results obtained explicitly evidence the huge scale of challenges and burdens Poland must face up to in order to adapt to the solutions proposed by the European Union. The direct costs related to adjustment of the technological and fuel infrastructure are estimated to have come to ca. PLN 2 billion in 2010, and to reach up to PLN 8-12 billion per annum in the years 2020÷2030. However, far higher costs may be involved in the potential GDP losses, as they start from PLN 154 billion per annum in 2020 and come to ca. PLN 503 billion in 2030. At the same time, the average electricity price at the producers will be 60% higher compared to a development scenario not involving the climate policy implementation.
The European commission has recently proposed to postpone the auction to be held in relation to a part of carbon dioxide emission allowances for the years 2013÷2015, covering the overall amount of 900 million tonnes of CO2, in order to proportionally increase the emission in the successive years until 2020. This solution is referred to as backloading, being strongly opposed by Poland but also raising doubts in other countries. The National Centre for Emissions Balancing and Management (KOBIZE) has developed a report analysing budgetary effects of backloading for Poland as well as for other EU states. It implies that backloading is unfavourable for countries applying for the CO2 derogation for the power engineering sector, including Poland. KOBIZE has calculated that, in the years 2013-20, the countries to potentially incur the highest losses are Poland (EUR 1,042 million) and the Czech Republic (EUR 375 million), whereas those to potentially gain the most include Germany (EUR 457 million) and the United Kingdom (EUR 238 million). Not only does backloading entail budgetary losses, but also undermines the trust towards the EU ETS among the scheme participants, i.e. the enterprises. Such an external interference with the market will not encourage companies to invest in low-emission technologies. To the contrary, investors may even block investments as they will not be able to anticipate the future political interventions in the market.
Application of the CCS technology is assumed to become mandatory after the year 2020. Many institutions are already analysing the potential financial effects of the CCS directive enactment for the sake of a reasonable choice of the investment planning strategy to be applied in the power engineering sector. In light of the lacking explicit legal background and the impossibility to accurately determine certain economic indices, the assumptions adopted for the purposes of these analyses often tend to vary significantly which results in discrepancies of the analysis results [16÷21].
None of the greatest economic competitors of the European Union, i.e. USA, China or Russia, has implemented a similar emissions trading scheme. Hence the very realistic threat that, in the event of an increase in the emission allowance prices as well as the electricity rates themselves, the most energy-consuming facilities will be moved outside the Community. This potential situation is particularly hazardous to Poland for two reasons at the least. On the one hand, electricity prices (12.5 eurocents per kWh) are already not to be considered low (e.g. compared to Bulgaria where it comes to 7.8 eurocents). On the other hand, each upward fluctuation will have more serious effects than in the western countries, since our economy consumes twice as much energy.
In order to conclude the consideration on the climate policy impact on the EU economy, it is worth mentioning the changes to the stock exchange listings of public utility companies, a majority of which represent the power engineering sectors of the European Union and the United States. In Europe, the value of stock exchange indices of such enterprises declined by more than 20 per cent within the last year, whereas in the United States, where the climate policy is of lesser importance, an increase of several per cent could be observed in the same period of time. This fact should make the European Union realise the necessity for redefining the basic priorities and increasing the flexibility of the long-term energy and climate policy channelling .
It may sometimes happen that an essentially noble and valuable venture is abused for purposes completely differing from the objectives assumed, and hence it is no longer perceived in equally positive terms. This was the case of the EU ETS. In 2009, Europol reported a growing scale of tax fraud which, in certain countries, may have corresponded to as much as 90% of the overall value of emission allowances exchanged . In 2010, it was revealed that within the previous two years, criminal groups had used this opportunity to earn more than EUR 7 billion . At the end of the year 2010, the European Commission announced their intention to prepare a regulation dedicated to putting an end to the practices of facilities manufacturing the HFC-23 greenhouse gas only to subsequently close down, thus obtaining emission allowance packages of a considerable market value [25, 26]. According to the UBS Investment Research, the EU ETS related costs already incurred by the European economy have come to USD 287 billion, and the scheme?s actual impact on the CO2 emission reduction has nearly been null .
Technologies of carbon dioxide removal from gas mixtures
In order to analyse the available options of CO2 emission reduction, one should also review the current state of the art and technology in this respect. A decided majority of anthropogenic carbon dioxide is generated in fuel combustion processes. CCS is a technological process which consists in separating the carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere from industrial installations, followed by its transportation and permanent storage . The main components of a CCS system have been depicted in Figure 1 .
While analysing the available technological options of carbon dioxide removal from gas fluxes, they may be divided into three basic groups .
? removal prior to the combustion process, i.e. pre-combustion (Fig. 2)
? oxygen enhanced combustion, i.e. oxy-fuel combustion (Fig. 3)
In the carbon dioxide separation process, prior to combustion, the fuel is partially oxidised (subject to oxidation) which consequently leads to formation of synthesis gas (carbon monoxide and hydrogen), also known as syngas, subsequently transformed into carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Thus CO2 becomes easily separable from the syngas flux, whereas the hydrogen can be utilised as fuel for gas turbines. In oxy-fuel combustion, the fuel is combusted in a mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide obtained from the flue gas for the sake of the combustion temperature control. The flue gas thus generated mainly contains CO2 and steam which can be condensed, and the resulting gas flux of very high CO2 concentration is ready to be transported to the storage site.
Carbon dioxide separation after the combustion process consists in removing CO2 from the flue gas leaving a boiler or a gas turbine. The most advanced commercial separation technology entails CO2 absorption in an aqueous amine solution. CO2 is subsequently desorbed, dried, compressed and transported to the storage site.
Certain authors [29, 31] also tend to mention the following technological variants in terms of carbon dioxide removal:
? biological carbon dioxide capture methods (plantations, algae)
? carbon capture and storage in chemical products (urea, motor fuel, methanol etc.)
? group of CO2 separation processes involving application of fuel cells.
The carbon dioxide separation process itself may be divided into : absorption, adsorption, membrane separation and cryogenic methods. The absorption and adsorption processes may be both physically and chemically induced. Three types of adsorption are applied for CO2 separation:
? pressure swing adsorption (PSA)
? temperature swing adsorption (TSA)
? electric swing adsorption (ESA).
Which of the foregoing methods is chosen to remove CO2 depends on a multitude of factors, including processing conditions, fuel composition and gas purification, partial pressure of CO2 and gas flux volume. Sorbents, usually used in commercial installations, are compounds like cold methanol, polyethylene glycol, calcium oxide propylene carbonate, sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide. For the sake of CO2 adsorption from flue gas, one can use substances of considerable active surface, such as zeolites and activated carbon. However, the adsorption methods are not widely applied in large-scale installations as their output and selectivity towards CO2 are not high, and large amounts of energy are required for their reclamation.
It is theoretically possible to apply most CO2 removal technologies with commercially available installations, however, there is still a need for studies aimed at extending their range, particularly for the postcombustion methods, including integration of both relevant systems, i.e. a CCS installation and a power unit, as well as improving the safety of carbon dioxide storage systems .
As aforementioned, there is a series of well studied and documented methods of CO2 removal from fuel combustion processes. Therefore, one may conclude that in terms of the technological know-how, we are already prepared for implementation of the CO2 removal solutions, but the same cannot be claimed about the final storage.
In the following paragraphs, the authors have analysed the practical options of applying the processes discussed above. The most popular industrial-scale CO2separation method is physical and chemical absorption. Both have been applied in the petrochemical industry for years to separate carbon dioxide from gas mixtures. Other CO2 separation methods (adsorption, membrane and cryogenic separation) are available on a more limited scale, at least an order of magnitude too small to satisfy the requirements of the power engineering sector. The most highly advanced industrial-scale technologies are those combined with the fuel IGCC (integrated gasification combined cycle), and combustion in oxygen atmosphere is the technology of choice on a pilot scale .
Since it is necessary to deliver thermal energy for regeneration purposes and electric energy to satisfy the in-house needs of an installation used to remove CO2 from the flue gas discharged from coal-fired power plants, their integration with the power unit will result in a drop of the electric energy generation efficiency by 8 to 13% for coal combustion and 9-12% for gas combustion, out of which ca. 3-4% on coal combustion and 2-3% on gas combustion is attributable to the CO2 compression process to attain the required pressure, whereas the remaining efficiency losses are due to the CO2 removal process itself. The experiences related to pilot installations and various estimations imply that the relevant operating costs on an industrial scale will come to ca. EUR 10-50 per MWh, however, authors of different publications provide very diverse values in this respect. These costs will be directly reflected in the electricity prices the final recipients will be forced to bear, which constitutes the main issue in terms of social acceptance for construction of CCS systems .
Heavy environmental pressure and the resulting legal regulations cause that further opportunities of coal utilisation will only be provided to technologies enabling more efficient electric energy generation (e.g. ultracritical combustion) and removal of carbon dioxide in the course of the energy generation process (e.g. gasification and oxy-fuel combustion). Gasification is also a very interesting option from the perspective of syngas production for chemical applications .
What is referred to as a ?clean coal-fired power plant? featuring carbon dioxide capture and storage will prove to be more expensive both at the investment and the operation stage. The same applies to the energy produced in such a power plant, since its price will probably be twice as high .
All the power generating units currently in construction as well as those planned are assumed to be prepared for being connected with CO2 capture and storage installations in the future. However, no investments in the CCS technology will ever proceed until they become economically viable or legally mandatory (which was the case of the EU ETS). On the current price levels of CO2 emission allowances fluctuating around EUR 6 per tonne, this technology still remains completely groundless from the economic perspective.
There is a report published virtually every month in which scientists attempt to prove that CO2 emissions do not induce the Earth?s climate changes or just the opposite ? that without drastic reduction of the greenhouse gas generation we are doomed to an ecological catastrophe. Unfortunately, the scientific truth is gradually loosing importance in this discourse. It is becoming the mere tool in a struggle of interests .
Mankind is consuming fossil energy resources at a rate far exceeding their restoration capacities. And even though more and more new deposits are discovered, a moment will come when the energy resources are depleted. Therefore, the development of alternative energy sources and the shift from fossil fuels is becoming a necessity. It is completely reasonable to agree with Professor Andrzej Kraszewski, former Minister of Environment, who claimed that if there had not been any greenhouse effect, it should have been invented as the struggle against it reinforced the development of state-of-the-art technologies. Professor Kraszewski would stress that the European Commission was not composed of idiots intending to commit a mass economic suicide. The current trends observed in the sphere of the EU?s climate and energy policy are beneficial to many European countries, although it may not necessarily be favourable to Poland .
In order to restore balance in the Earth, the environment must no longer be treated like an object, but rather like a subject. It is also necessary to trigger appropriate social relationships that would ensure the environment is protected and taken care of . One should approach the problem of emissions using several parameters, such as a country?s area, population, emission per statistical inhabitant or, last but not least, gross domestic product per statistical inhabitant which characterises the quality of life and the economic standing in statistical terms. At the same time, one should not perceive a single parameter as the ultimate source of truth. At least several of them must be taken into consideration and analysed in a combination .
Supporting the development of low-emission economy and establishing specific reduction objectives should be attempted once the impact of such decisions on the EU?s economic condition is taken into account. It requires detailed and comprehensive analysis of the available options as well as outcomes of the changes proposed for the economies of individual member states. Rising energy prices are directly translated into the hampering of economic growth and increasing fuel poverty, and it may even lead to what is referred to as fuel exclusion. Clean environment will not be a value of utmost importance for a man short of electricity. Therefore, one should rather seek optimum solutions in terms of minimisation of the negative impact exerted by the power generation sector on the natural environment on reasonable social costs .
In the global scale, individual economies establish their own developmental strategies not assuming any actual obligations related to the EU?s climate package. The foregoing means that the European Union is indeed standing alone in their climate and energy policy, without worldwide acceptance towards its costs . The efforts undertaken by the European Union, whose economy accounts for merely 10% of the global CO2 emission, will fail to bring any tangible effects in a scale of the entire planet. Without global agreement in the scope of struggle against climate changes, undertaking it voluntarily in the EU would only lead to decreasing the competitive edge of its own economy. All these threats will be translated into declining equity of the EU enterprises as well as growing costs of living incurred by households .
One may suspect that an additional objective of the CO2 emission reduction is economic stimulation as well as specific actions aimed to become independent from fuel import, since it is very easy to disturb this process. The essence of the CO2 emission reduction concept is to activate scattered local resources and develop a network enabling integration of such resources. The struggle against the CO2 emission, regardless of whether the gas does or does not cause the climate changes, brings other advantages. It has turned out that the society is ready to undertake certain obligations, even at the expense of one?s own sacrifices. Such an attitude may only contribute to the social development and reduction of the unemployment. Consequently, the profit resulting from such efforts is returned to the society .
The applicable legislation being not entirely explicit and changing on an ongoing basis, fluctuations in the prices of greenhouse gas emission allowances or the European Commission?s attempts to interfere with market mechanisms (a good example would be the EU ETS) all cause that the EU?s climate policy affects the investment processes taking place in the power engineering industry and energyconsuming sectors. Under the current circumstances of omnipresent uncertainty, investors are facing serious issues trying to determine the potential profitability of the ventures planned, which significantly contributes to abandoning certain projects. People must take care of the entire planet and the surrounding natural environment. However, one must never forget that it is the attention to quality of life that should always remain in the centre of focus.
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Aleksander SOBOLEWSKI – Ph.D. Eng., was born on 11th November 1962 in Częstochowa. He graduated from the Faculty of Chemistry of the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice (1986) major in chemical engineering. He defended his doctoral dissertation in chemical engineering in 1993 at the Silesian University of Technology. Since 1987, he has been employed at the Institute for Chemical Processing of Coal in Zabrze, successively performing the following functions: assistant, assistant professor, department manager and director, and since 2004 ? Deputy Director of the Institute of Research and Development. Dr. Sobolewski has published several monographs, over 150 scientific papers (in Polish, English, German and Russian) and developed 15 patents. Throughout his entire professional career, he has been closely collaborating with the industry, particularly with coking, power engineering and chemical plants. His expertise also comprises management of research teams and projects (both domestic and international ones) and implementations.
Andrzej CZAPLICKI – M.Sc., graduated from the Faculty of Chemistry of the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice in 1983. He is currently employed at the Institute for Chemical Processing of Coal in Zabrze where his main fields of interest include gasification of solid energy carriers, coal charge preparation for the coke engineering purposes and the methodology of CO2 emission monitoring conforming with the requirements of the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme. He is an author and co-author of two monograph chapter, has published 27 articles in scientific and technical magazines as well as developed 24 papers and posters for domestic and foreign conferences.
phone: +48 32 271 00 41