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WCA: a global commitment to HELE technologies is key

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World Coal,

In order to meet global energy needs and make significant cuts in CO2 emissions, the World Coal Association (WCA) urges governments worldwide to demonstrate a genuine commitment towards expanding the deployment of all low-emission technologies.

Speaking in response to the call made by President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, in coordination with Greenpeace, for a moratorium on all new coal mines, Benjamin Sporton, the WCA’s CEO, stated: “President Tong highlights the global challenge we face in reducing emissions from our energy use and we appreciate his concerns. However, the most effective way in which we can meet global energy needs and make significant cuts in CO2 emissions is to focus on widening the deployment of all low emission technologies”.

“For many countries, the reality is that the only way they can meet their growing energy needs is through affordable, readily available coal. 1.3 billion people live in energy poverty. 2.7 billion people do not have clean cooking facilities and rely on dung and wood. Coal plays a critical role in bringing affordable, reliable electricity to hundreds of millions of people in developing and emerging economies, particularly across Asia.

“According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) global electricity from coal is expected to grow by around 33% to 2040. Calls for a ban on coal mines will do nothing to reduce this very real demand and, in fact, make it harder for us to meet the two degree target.

Sporton believes a focus on meeting these needs as cleanly as possible is vital rather than concentrating on how countries choose to meet energy demands. Therefore countries that are dependent on coal need to use high-efficiency, low-emission (HELE) coal technologies and carbon, capture and storage (CCS). He indicated using HELE technologies will provide significant CO2 reductions. Raising the current average efficiency of the global coal fleet from 33% to 40% would save 2 giggatones of CO2 emissions. He explained this is the equivalent to India’s annual CO2 emissions or running the Kyoto Protocol three times over.

He continued: “The coal industry is committed to working with the international community to reduce emissions from coal. The World Coal Association has proposed a global Platform for Accelerating Coal Efficiency (PACE), with a vision to support deployment of the most efficient coal-fired power plant technology possible to enable developing and emerging economies to access the benefits of affordable, reliable electricity from coal while minimising CO2 emissions.

Sporton concluded a ban on a certain source of energy would be unhelpful in meeting climate change priorities and widening access to energy. “… What is needed is a genuine commitment from governments to support all low-emission technologies equally – only then will we make meaningful steps towards not only a low-emission future but one where we have achieved global access to energy.”

Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs

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