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Peabody CEO calls on leaders to solve energy inequality

World Coal,

Peabody Energy CEO, Gregory Boyce, has called on business and energy leaders to solve energy inequality by creating a level of energy access that enables all people across the globe to have the same high standard of living experienced in the developed world.

"Energy inequality is the blight of energy poverty, limiting access to basic needs like food, water and medicine; stunting education and cutting lives short. Every one of the U.N. Millennium Development goals depends on adequate energy, yet today one out of every two citizens lacks adequate energy and over 4 million lives are lost yearly due to the impacts of this scourge," explained Boyce.

Human crisis

Boyce commented on what he calls the world's number one human and environmental crisis during an interview with Wall Street Journal Assistant Managing Editor and Executive Business Editor, John Bussey.

CEOs, policymakers and global leaders were part of the audience at the 2014 ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, California.

Global implications

Boyce highlighted the following statistics, asking energy and business leaders to consider their implications:

  • Globally 3.5 billion people lack proper energy access, and 1.2 billion are children.
  • About half the children in the developing world attend schools without electricity.
  • Some 1 billion people receive substandard healthcare because of a lack of electricity.
  • The global population is expanding by more than 200 000 people each day, and by 2050, the world's population is forecast to exceed 9.6 billion, with over two-thirds living in cities.

Energy access

"More energy is needed to create energy access for billions, to sustain growth for a new global middle class and improve access to low-cost electricity. Too many families in developed nations face the tough choice of paying for food or energy.

"The greatest environmental crisis we confront today is not a crisis predicted by computer models but a human crisis fully within our power to solve," Boyce added.

Advanced coal technologies

Boyce called for driving policies and actions that increase access to reliable, low-cost power using today's advanced coal technologies that extends lives, builds economies and improves natural and indoor environments.

Coal has the scale to meet these needs, and today's high-efficiency supercritical coal plants have state-of-the-art controls and ultra-low emission rates. Every large, advanced coal plant brings the equivalent carbon benefit of removing 1 million cars from the road.

"Policies that force use of more expensive, less reliable energy push costs throughout the economy and place the heaviest burden on the world's poor and low-income citizens. We need all forms of energy to address global needs, and we must recognize the strengths and limitations of each choice. Advanced coal is the sustainable fuel at scale that can meet these needs," Boyce concluded.

Coal vs. oil

Coal has been the fastest-growing major fuel the past decade and is set to surpass oil as the world's largest fuel in coming years. Coal's market share for US electricity generation has increased by one-third in the past two years, and now has twice the market share of natural gas.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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