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Title: Energy and pollution : economic and technical aspects of fossil fuel power generation in the UK
Author: Shoham, J. L.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3407 0718
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1980
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The purpose of this interdisciplinary thesis is to relate the scientifically known environmental effects of the coal- and oil-fired electricity generation fuel cycles in the UK to the economic, legal and political considerations which bear upon energy/environment analyses. Where possible the, environmental effects of the two fuel cycles are compared. Throughout differences with other countries, particularly the US, in both the perceived environmental effects and prescriptions for dealing with them are highlighted. It is shown that although where the environmental effects can be evaluated the coal fuel cycle tends to have a more adverse impact than the oil cycle, these effects are so small in economic terms that no clear fuel policy implications emerge. Indeed fuel policy in the past has been little influenced by environmental considerations. Moreover the law relating to pollution in the UK, based on the principle of "best practicable means", generally operates more efficiently than the less flexible systems of other countries and successfully implements the prescriptions of economic theory to internalise externalities and make the polluter pay. However, the vast majority of the effects of the oil and coal fuel cycles cannot be quantified, in economic terms, either because they are not understood scientifically, or because they are of an essentially subjective nature. This renders much of the (sometimes elaborate) economic theory of how best to internalise externalities largely redundant since the optimal position towards which it aspires can seldom be identified. For the same reason, the usefulness of energy/environment models which purport to display the environmental consequences of different energy balances is also restricted. Moreover, an understanding of the complicated and seldom linear relationships that usually exist between the effect of a pollutant and level of energy output exposes the difficulties and dangers of formulating the normalised environmental impact indices which are the ultimate objective of many energy/environment models.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Coal