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China pledges to cut coal consumption at Davos

World Coal,

The eyes of the business world have turned to Davos, Switzerland, this week for the 2015 World Economic Forum (WEF). It was here that Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, has pledged that Chinba will reduce its use of coal and fossil fuels, while also promoting clean coal technologies.

Li’s words have put the issue of fossil fuels and climate change firmly on the table at the WEC, despite research from PwC showing that CEOs attending the forum had no interest in climate change or global warming.

The majority of business executives (and Bono, of course) at the Davos Summit told PwC they were more interested in reducing taxes and slashing government regulation. However, any hopes they harboured that these would be the primary topics of discussion were dashed as Premier Li said it was vital China increased the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20% by 2030.

Chinese state media channel, Xinhua, said Li’s words marked “the latest efforts of the world’s most populous country in its uphill battle against air pollution and climate change”.

Li said lowering the proportion of coal use will be a particular focus for the government, with China keen to promote clean coal technology, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS). He called on developed countries to export more clean technologies and products to China as the government seeks to step up low carbon investment.

"We will spare no efforts to pursue low carbon development," he added, while also reiterating the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, which holds that developed nations should cover a greater share of the costs associated with tackling climate change.

Li's comments came as Microsoft founder Bill Gates picked up on the theme of helping developing nations to combat climate threats, arguing that access to cheap, low-carbon energy sources is vital for future growth. 

Gates stressed that more urgent action to tackle climate change was critical to the success of global development efforts.

"The most dramatic problems caused by climate change are more than 15 years away, but the long-term threat is so serious that the world needs to move much more aggressively – right now – to develop energy sources that are cheaper, can deliver on demand, and emit zero carbon dioxide," Gates said. "The next 15 years are a pivotal time when these energy sources need to be developed so they'll be ready to deploy before the effects of climate change become severe."

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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