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BHP Billiton looks into the future

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World Coal,

Renewables could supply 25% of the world’s electricity needs by 2030, according to research by BHP Billiton into the potential impacts of a global agreement on climate change that limited the rise in temperature to 2°C. Nuclear power would also be a big winner as a low-carbon provider of baseload power, boosting demand for uranium.

Unsurprisingly, thermal coal – as well as oil – would be the commodity most negatively impacted by a 2°C deal with BHP Billiton forecasting substantially lower demand for the fuel than would be the case without an agreement to limit global warming.

Under a current policies scenario (i.e. without a global agreement on limiting climate change), coal is expected to increase its share in the global energy supply from 3.59 t of oil equivalent (toe) today to 5.19 toe in 2030, according to the International Energy Agency. With a global agreement in place, coal use would instead fall from today’s levels – but not by too much, meaning that additional supplies of thermal coal would still be required to meet global demand.

On the metallurgical coal side, BHP Billiton identifies increased recycling of steel to be the chief risk to demand with demand less that under a current policies scenario but still higher than 2014 demand.

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