The results, which were recently published in the journal Nature Sustainability, show that China and the US are the two largest producers of coal power, but power plants in India take the highest toll in the world when it comes to health. Central Europe, North America and China all have modern power plants, but Eastern Europe, Russia and India still have many older power plants equipped with insufficient flue gas treatment.
As a result, these power plants only remove a fraction of the pollutants -- while also often burning coal of inferior quality. "More than half of the health effects can be traced back to just one tenth of the power plants. These power plants should be upgraded or shut down as quickly as possible," says Christopher Oberschelp, the lead author of the study.
Picture - Coal - Power - Production - Gap
The global picture of coal power production shows that the gap between privileged and disadvantaged regions is widening. This is happening for two reasons. Firstly, wealthy countries -- such as in Europe -- import high-quality coal with a high calorific value and low emissions of harmful sulphur dioxide. The poorer coal-exporting countries (such as Indonesia, Colombia and South Africa) are left with low-quality coal, which they often burn in outdated power plants without modern flue gas treatment...
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