Gas or coal – ecology or money?
In neighboring Uzbekistan, rich in natural gas, it was decided to transfer brick and cement enterprises, as well as greenhouses, to use coal. According to local media, the country’s Ministry of Energy in a press release reported that in the five months of 2019, about 100 brick-making enterprises were converted to coal. As a result, fuel economy was 45-55%. According to the agency, the full transfer to the use of coal of only brick-making enterprises and greenhouses in the country will save billions of cubic meters of natural gas annually.
Most likely, it is – the fact that coal is cheaper today than gas is known to everyone who is at least a little interested in the economy. But the question is, what about the environment? You don’t need to go far for an example, let’s look at the great China. The energy basis of one of the largest economies in the world for a long time was coal.
In December 2009, the transnational gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China was launched, and after some time a gas boom began in the country. According to the media of the Middle Kingdom, a significant part of the country’s national economy began to abandon coal and switch to natural gas. And the main reason for this was the improvement of the ecology of large Chinese cities and primarily Beijing.
Residents of Chinese metropolitan areas appreciated, first of all, clean air, which the use of natural gas gives. Since the burning of coal leads to the emission of toxic substances into the atmosphere, which can spread hundreds of kilometers from the source of pollution. Among the most dangerous emissions are suspended particles, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, mercury and arsenic. Their impact on humans increases the risk of serious illness, the names of which are even scary to list.
Thus, natural gas from Central Asia, including Uzbek, helps China reduce the use of coal and improve the environmental situation in the country. And Beijing is only increasing its purchases and use of gas – the import of pipeline gas from Central Asia, LNG from various countries, its own gas production, and soon Russian gas will begin to flow to the Chinese market. Well, all in all, the Chinese business knows how to count money.
At the same time, the cost savings resulting from the transition from gas to coal are very ghostly, momentary savings, which subsequently are likely to result in even greater expenses. Because later people, with a deteriorating environment, will more often turn to doctors and spend more money on treatment, and the authorities will be forced to allocate funds and resources to solve the environmental problems that have arisen.
Of course, the realities of today are such that coal, despite the fact that it causes great harm to the environment, remains one of the most popular varieties of energy raw materials in the world. But this only suggests that good ecology is very expensive, and, unfortunately, not everyone can afford it.
Nevertheless, good ecology is a very financially profitable “enterprise”. Simply, in this case, people receive dividends not in the form of money, but in the form of good health, increased life expectancy and working age, etc. Isn’t it worth a lot of money?