CENGIZ – Coal kills in short and long run

Coal kills in short and long runDespite the recent Soma disaster, yesterday marked the start of the 19th Coal Convention, organized by the Turkish Union of Engineers and Architects’ Chambers (TMMOB). The convention’s official website notes: “The Turkish Coal Convention has been held biennially since 1978.

The convention was first held as a national meeting but has since been transformed into an international industry gathering where nearly all aspects of coal mining are deliberated. The convention will be held on the date specified.

There will be no changes to the convention schedule or program”Apparently, “nearly all aspects of coal mining” have been addressed since 1978, but the safety of miners has been neglected the issues are not about technical expertise, but rather excessive ambition and greed. Three findings are sufficient to illustrate this point.

First, the T24 web outlet reported that a rescuer in Soma said: “The gas censors had been deactivated when we entered the shaft. [When] I asked the miners why, they told me the management deactivated the censors because they slowed down the extraction process.

”Second, another miner who was working for Soma Kmur IIletmeleri (Soma Coal Mining Company) said, “We were always informed about inspections one week before [they were scheduled] so we could fix everything according to legislative requirements.”And the third finding that sheds light on the priorities of industry and government executives: On April 29, two weeks before the disaster, deputies from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) rejected a parliamentary motion filed on Oct.

23, 2013 that called for a thorough investigation of Soma’s mining sites.What might be the purpose of a convention about the coal mining industry in Turkey? In this country, which is ranked third in the world and first in Europe in terms of the number of deadly mining industry accidents, entrepreneurs are motivated by purchasing guarantees from the government and strive to extract the maximum amount of coal under minimal safety and technical requirements.

There is no limit to Turkey’s energy intake. Although poor in terms of fossil fuel, there is a large potential for solar and wind energy in the country.

However, coal is king. The current breakdown of energy resources indicates that 48 percent of the total production comes from natural gas 17-21 percent comes from imported and domestic coal and 21-27 percent comes from hydroelectric sources.

The share of solar and geothermal energy is small.By 2023, the government seeks to increase the share of domestic coal to 30 percent 2012 was declared “The Year of Coal” to symbolize “national independence” in the field of energy.

However, nobody cares about the costs and benefits of prioritizing physical labor, heavy agriculture and tourism over coal mining and solar energy over coal-powered thermoelectric power plants. Let’s not forget that the Soma miners were former farmers who had to become miners since Turkey’s agricultural sector was “proudly” dismantled decades ago.

The other dark side of coal is that it seriously affects climate conditions 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions — the main agent of global warming — are due to coal use. The government restricts the amount of solar energy to 600 megawatts within a national grid of 60 gigawatts.

Restrictions on solar energy stem from political and financial preferences rather than logistical aspects, and no restriction has ever been introduced to coal and natural gas investments. Solar energy is relatively more expensive, but its price is declining it is environmentally friendly, human-friendly and renewable.

But we have to pay that price if we want a habitable planet.Alas, modern Turkey wants to grow, become prosperous, consume immoderately and exploit sources that might be necessary in the future.

In this greedy world, all means are justifiable. Therefore, most of us are indirect accomplices in work-related accidents, the destruction of nature and cultural heritage, and the disrespect for life.

Please do not miss the seemingly remote link between the Soma disaster and the heaters enabling you to smoke comfortably outside during the winter.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman

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