Sunday, March 23, 2008


AES Drax in Yorkshire pumps smoke out of the tallest chimneys in the country. The coal-fired power plant emits more CO2 – 22.8 million tonnes annually – than the 100 least-industrialised nations combined. Drax provides 7% of Britain’s electrical power. Burning fossil fuels to turn steam turbines and create electricity accounts for a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and coal has the highest carbon content of all fuels
Photograph: Jason Hawks/Getty Images

The striking image and caption are from a gallery of environment photos at Much of the caption is inaccurate. The Drax chimney is indeed the tallest chimney in the UK. The structures to either side are cooling towers. Cooling towers release steam not smoke. The plume coming from the chimney is likely also steam as exhaust gases from the plant are electrostatically scrubbed and under normal atmospheric conditions are barely visible.

The claim that Drax emits more CO2 "than the 100 least-industrialised nations combined" is ridiculous: as a huge power generating facility Drax emits lots of CO2 but nowhere near as much as Bangladesh.

Jeez, it's almost as if the tree-huggers are trying to scare us.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although I haven't seen it for a while, it used to annoy me plenty when television news would show endless helicopter shots of the roofs of office buildings and their air-conditioners to illustrate the same point.

The units were emitting water-vapour.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous rodw said...

The power station seems to be creating it's own whopping big cloud, which is blocking out the sun. I wonder how much cooling effect that has?

9:02 AM  

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