Talking Points: What should China use to generate power instead of burning coal?

Talking Points: What should China use to generate power instead of burning coal?

Hate it when you can't talk back? Well, you can with Young Post. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong

Leung Yee-shan, 14, PLK Lee Shing Pik College

Using nuclear energy to generate power is definitely the best way. Coal burning is the major cause of air pollution on the mainland. Coal-fired power plants release huge amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere. This is one of the biggest threats to our climate.

In contrast, nuclear energy is one of the few technologies that can ward off climate change which can lead to natural disasters killing hundreds of thousands of people. Nuclear reactors provide low-carbon electricity without spewing chemicals into the air.

Some people say renewable energy is a better option than nuclear energy, but I don't agree. Renewable energy depends on the weather. For example, it would be difficult to generate solar power during rainy weather which can last for several days.

I think countries should build more nuclear reactors to cope with the rising demand for electricity.


Ruby Ng, 12, Tak Nga Secondary School

Instead of coal, they could use nuclear power, but it is too dangerous. How do they get rid of the nuclear waste? As for hydroelectric power, building huge dams would destroy marine life and the environment. Wind energy is non-polluting, but the turbines are noisy. Also, it's hard to predict the wind.

So I think the best solution is to use solar power, which is the cleanest, cheapest, and safest renewable energy source. Solar panels don't need a lot of space - they can be used on the roofs of houses, apartment blocks, schools, or companies. The panels can store energy, so it can be used later.


Zac Li Hoi-yeung, 17, Hong Kong Teachers' Association Lee Heng Kwei Secondary School

It's got to be nuclear power. Some people oppose nuclear energy, especially after the disaster at the Fukushima power plant in Japan, but I don't see any other way. People cannot depend on renewable energy 24/7, so there has to be another alternative.

Nuclear plants use uranium fuel to produce an enormous amount of electricity, with almost zero pollution. The plants don't release any gases like carbon dioxide or methane which are largely responsible for global warming.

Moreover, by using the latest technology, the danger posed by nuclear plants can be minimised. Nuclear power can be a huge advantage, especially for China, where air pollution levels are normally very high.


Homan Wang, 17, King's College

China should immediately develop renewable energy sources to replace its traditional coal-burning plants. The Three Gorges Dam is a good example. It provides electricity to residents without emitting greenhouse gases and thus ruining the environment.

Besides, the country should use its geographical advantages. For example, they could build wind farms near coastal areas. Also, inland areas like Urumqi receive intense sunlight throughout the year, so using solar power will be cheaper and more eco-friendly.


Au Chun-tsung, 16, Maryknoll Fathers' School

When talking about reducing pollution, pedal power should not be ignored. Pedal power is the transfer of energy from a human through riding a bicycle.

The government already encourages people to do at least half an hour of exercise every day, so pedal power will push the public to take action. It will help maintain people's health, while reducing pollution. Plus, it's cheap!

Pedal power may not be as effective as hydroelectric or nuclear energy, but it's 100 per cent pollution-free. I think the central government should promote pedal power among the public, if it's truly determined to tackle the pollution problem.


Tell us what you think in the comment box below.

You're welcome to join the conversation. In our next Talking Points, we'll discuss:

Should TSA exams be marked on a simple pass/ fail basis?

We are now accepting answers from readers for this new topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it's not blurry), to yp@scmp.com by Monday lunchtime next week.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
What should China use to generate power insteadof burning coal?

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