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Papal encyclical should spur use of all low-emission technologies

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World Coal,

Governments should recognise the role played by all low-emission technologies – including cleaner coal technologies – in efforts to cut carbon emissions, according to Benjamin Sporton, CEO of the World Coal Association.

Speaking after the publication of the papal encyclical on the environmental, Sporton praised Pope Francis for highlighting the “huge challenge we face in reducing global CO2 emissions.”

“If we are to significantly cut CO2 missions, it is essential that we recognise the vial role of coal in many countries and look at ways to reduce emissions from coal use,” Sporton continued, noting that the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts coal use to grow by about 33% by 2040.

“The reason for this growth is that there are very real energy needs to be met,” explained Sporton. “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 WCA, high-efficiency low-emissions (HELE) coal technologies – such as supercritical and ultra-supercritical plants – can provide significant and immediate carbon reductions and are a key step on the pathway to carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS). Raising the average efficiency of the global coal fleet from the current 33% to 40% would save 2 billion t of CO2 emissions – equivalent to India’s annual CO2 emissions or running the Kyoto Protocol three times over.

“Pope Francis has highlighted the scale of the challenge we face. It is only by treating climate and development objectives as integrated priorities that we will successfully overcome these global challenges,” concluded Sporton.

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