A: In the weird world of international carbon markets.
This year, new Clean Development Mechanism rules were approved that allow “more efficient supercritical and ultra supercritical coal plants built in developing countries to obtain carbon credits. So theoretically, a coal-fired power plant in Europe could be “offset” by carbon credits not through renewable energy, but through another carbon-burning coal power plant in India”. (with thanks to Think Progress blog for that passage)
Meanwhile, from Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator:
The following international units are included in the legislation establishing the carbon pricing mechanism:
certified emission reductions (CERs) from Clean Development Mechanism projects under the Kyoto Protocol, other than temporary CERs, long-term CERs, and CERs from nuclear projects,…
So… under mechanisms specifically designed to help the world achieve the most economically rational pathway to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a power plant that releases lots of emissions can be financially rewarded and help lazy developed nations who keep burning coal themselves “meet their target”. Power plants that release no emissions at all are systematically demonised in said developed nations, maintaining the internal dependence on coal, but even if built in developing nations instead of coal… cannot be rewarded with carbon credits.
It really is some kind of freaky love-in between the mainstream environmental movement who lobby nuclear out and the fossil fuel industry who lobby coal in. The difference between the two is that the fossil folks actually know what they are doing…