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Paris Agreement could boost demand for Australian coal

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World Coal,

The Paris Agreement could be good for the Australian coal industry, according to Brendon Pearson, CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA).

The Paris Agreement was adopted at the end of the COP21 climate change negotiations, which saw the world commit to limiting global temperature rises to 2°C – with a pledge to try to hit a more stringent 1.5°C target.

The deal is based around Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). These voluntary commitments allow countries to decide for themselves how to meet emissions reduction targets – and it is in these that the MCS finds hope for the coal industry.

‘High-efficiency low-emission (HELE) coal-fired power plants are a central element of the emissions reductions plans of China, India, Japan and southeast Asian nations tabled in Paris,” Pearson explained.

“The boost for HELE plants is good news for Australia, because our high-energy low-impurity coal is ideally suited to these power plants. It is why the International Energy Agency has projected a strong increase in Australia’s coal exports over the next 25 yr.”

According to the MCA, more than 650 HELE units are already in place in East Asia with another 2060 under construction of planned. Meanwhile, their development in China has already seen the country reduce its emissions by 450 million t of CO2 equivalent a year of the last seven years, according to the IEA Clean Coal Centre.

The deal could also provide fresh impetus to develop and deploy carbon capture and storage (CCS), Pearson said.

The Paris Agreement will also boost Australia’s uranium industry as demand for nuclear energy in East and South Asia grows strongly, while the country’s mineral sector will benefit more generally from significant growth in the renewable energy sector.

“More than 220 t of coal are used in the construction of every wind turbine, while more than 15 mined minerals are used in the construction of a solar panel” said Pearson.

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