China’s CO2 output will surpass that of the United States by 2010 at the latest, according to a recent announcement from the International Energy Agency. This should come as no surprise, with China functioning as manufacturer to the world to meet an apparent insatiable demand for preferably low-priced goods. While China is effectively emitting carbon on behalf of consumers on all the other continents, its increasing prosperity has transformed lifestyles there, enabling increased consumption of goods and transport.

China is an extreme example, but the issues are common to all. The need for solutions political and technical is self-evident, and one of our articles in this issue describes the initiatives of the Asia-Pacific Partnership (APP) and Kyoto process in reducing carbon emissions. The APP focuses on key sectors of industry where dramatic reductions in emissions can be achieved, in part by using distributed generation. One specific industrial sector cement is explored in depth in this issue by Jeff Bell, who tells us that the top 20 cement countries have the potential to generate, largely from otherwise wasted heat, some 57 TWh of electricity at cement plants per year (equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of Switzerland). In addition, there are many other opportunities for making use of heat within the plants themselves, or in neighbouring industries/communities.

Several other articles in this issue also look at the opportunities for making use of otherwise wasted resources, rather than fossil fuels, to generate electric power, and heat. Pamela Franklin and colleagues outline the opportunities for making use of coal mine methane, rather than venting this potent greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. Harry Lindroos describes an alternative to flaring waste gas from the oil drilling process. And in an extensive article on DE/CHP opportunities in China and Russia, Jason Byars gives some examples of options for using waste heat and waste materials as an important energy resource.

As ever, there is no shortage of technical solutions that can incrementally help industry get onto the right track with regards to cutting carbon emissions. Will policy and business ensure they are used?

Jackie Jones

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