Coal mining giant Peabody Energy commended the G20 leaders' communique for its focus on global economic growth, poverty eradication in low-income and developing countries and increased international collaboration on energy policy.
Peabody Energy chairman and CEO, Gregory H. Boyce, said the core themes of the communique, issued after the leaders' summit in Brisbane on Sunday, were closely aligned with the mission of Peabody's Advanced Energy for Life campaign, which raises awareness and support to end the crisis of global energy poverty.
"We applaud G20 leaders for prioritising global growth that will deliver better living standards and quality jobs for people across the world," said Boyce. "We also commend G20 leaders for recognising that strong and resilient energy markets are critical to economic growth and that improving energy efficiency will be a key means of improving energy access and security. Simply put, affordable energy is the backbone of strong economies and without it, our shared development and poverty eradication goals will remain out of reach."
The leaders' communique includes 21 agreed-upon action items based on discussions that took place during the two-day global summit. Raising global growth was identified as the highest priority, with poverty eradication included in the communique as a stand-alone goal and member nations committing to actions that contribute to "inclusive and sustainable growth" in developing countries. The communique also identifies increased collaboration on energy as a priority and targets energy efficiency improvements as a means of addressing the rising demands of sustainable growth and development.
Boyce noted that global electricity demand was expected to climb nearly 70% by 2030, based on the International Energy Agency's current policy scenario and said that "inclusive and sustainable growth" would be impossible for developing nations unless leaders were willing to embrace an all-of-the-above approach to energy policy that included greater use of so-called “21st century coal”.
"More than half the world's 7 billion people already lack proper access to electricity, and given its large scale, low cost and low emissions profile, 21st century coal will be a major component of the global energy solution in the decades ahead," said Boyce.
Some criticism has recently been levied at Peabody Energy for its ‘Advanced Energy For Life’ campaign. The company stands accused of using a promotional campaign dreamed up by PR firm Burson-Marsteller, which previously helped Big Tobacco companies claim cigarettes could in fact be good for people’s health, despite scientific evidence to the contrary. Nonetheless, Boyce said that the concept of 21st century coal had been introduced by the governments of China and the US in 2009, and describes high-efficiency supercritical generation as well as today's advanced coal technologies that drive ultra-low emissions.
"Worldwide, supercritical technologies are in broad use with more than 600 GW in operation or under construction. These highly efficient, commercial technologies available today will be essential to ensuring that those in the developing world have access to reliable, affordable energy that will allow us to meet the economic and poverty eradication goals outlined by G20 leaders in Brisbane this month. In recent years, we've seen carbon caps and taxes wreak havoc on developed economies for negligible environmental gain, whereas advanced coal technologies offer a concrete path toward significant environmental progress on a global scale."
Other G20 priorities outlined at the world leader’s summit include tackling tax evasion, promoting and boosting female participation in economies and addressing climate change while phasing out “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies. Leaders stressed the importance of climate finance, including additional contributions to the Green Climate Fund. However, Tony Abbott, prime minister of Australia, was less keen on proposals to tackle climate change: instead preferring to focus on boosting growth and employment, enhancing global economic resilience and strengthening global institutions. Australia had hoped to keep climate change off the G20 summit’s agenda, however, commitments by China, the US and Japan to combating climate change helped build momentum for stronger global action to curb greenhouse gases. The US has pledged US$ 3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, while Japan has pledged US$1.5 billion.
At the end of the summit, Abbott confirmed China would be the G20 host in 2016, after Turkey in 2015. He said the summit had been marked by “a spirit of collaboration from all of the leaders and all of their teams”.
The full communiqué can be found here
Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson
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