Daniel Gros, 21 December 2007

Coal’s supply elasticity is much higher than that of oil, so rising demand encourages substitution to dirty coal from cleaner oil – and switching is easy ex ante but hard ex post. In the next 10 years, China will install more power-generation capacity than Europe’s current stock. If it is all coal-burning, emissions will be difficult to reduce for decades. High oil prices are not part of the solution; they are part of the problem.

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