Coal plant will increase Jamaica’s CO2 emission by 79-82 per cent - US coal expert
Director of the CoalSwarm Project Ted Nace has said that Jamaica will be unable to meet its target, of 7.8 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, should it go ahead with the commissioning of the proposed 1,000-megawatt (MW) coal-fired plant at the Alpart alumina plant which has recently been acquired by Chinese firm Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company Ltd. (JISCO).
Using the CoalSwarm Global Coal Plant Tracker, Nace shared calculations with The Gleaner, which show that a 1,000 coal plant would produce 5.6-5.8 million tonnes of CO2 annually.
Jamaica produced 7.1 million tonnes of CO2 in 2012.
"A coal plant would increase Jamaica's emissions of CO2 by 79 per cent (for a "subcritical" plant) - 82 per cent (for a "supercritical" plant), assuming it were run at an 80 per cent capacity factor," the coal expert said.
Pointing to the Paris country brief for Jamaica, which outlines Jamaica's commitment under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement, Nace said, "such an increase would destroy any chance of meeting Jamaica's commitment".
VIOLATION OF AGREEMENT
Greenpeace campaigner Lauri Myllyvirta has argued that constructing the plant would violate the Paris Agreement.
"All signatories to the Paris agreement have accepted the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5-.2.0 degrees celsius. There is no more space for any new coal-fired power plants to be built under this goal, so in that sense the project does violate the basic aim of the agreement," he said in an email response to The Gleaner.
According to the climate action plan, submitted to the UNFCCC by the Jamaican authorities, Jamaica has committed to a 7.8 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 under its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).
POSSIBILITY OF COAL SPILL
Jamaica signed the Paris Accords in April of this year but is yet to ratify the agreement.
"While the construction of a coal plant can produce a number of construction jobs in the short term, the number of long-term jobs is much lower, certain far lower than the number of jobs in the tourism sector," Nace told The Gleaner.
According to the Nace, Jamaica could face the possibility of a coal spill given that coal terminals will have to be built to facilitate the importation of coal.
"Jamaica is not a major coal producer and as such coal would have to imported from a neighboring producer such as Colombia or the United States. This would mean construction of a coal terminal and the possibility of a coal spill," he explained.