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A call for five-point plan to facilitate a low-carbon economy

World Coal,

Peabody Energy’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Greg Boyce, has called for a five-point plan to help resolve the US electricity crisis, put energy policy back on track and accelerate a transition toward a low-carbon economy, calling on Congress and political leaders for supportBoyce’s five-point plan is as follows:

      Recognise the large impact of energy policy on all citizens and the importance of keeping energy available, reliable and affordable. Any new policy recommendation should show how energy access is increased and energy affordability is strengthened.
      Embrace a true "all of the above" energy strategy that recognises quantifiable benefits and limitations for each fuel alternative.
      Support continued investment in clean coal technologies to minimise emissions and drive down costs, which offers a large success story in the US: Coal used for power has increased 165% since 1970 while key emission rates decreased vastly by 90%.
      Promote development bank funding to expand broad electricity access in emerging markets. Electrification through coal is considered a response to stop degradation of the natural environment and help alleviate energy inequality.
      Accelerate development of next generation carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies that will accomplish large emission reductions. Given the world's ambitious carbon goals, CCUS will play an essential role in reducing emissions for both coal and gas. CCUS should enjoy policy parity with other low-carbon energy options.

During a global coal plenary address at IHS CERA Week in Houston, Boyce stated, "High electricity costs put pressure on families, forcing what are too frequently becoming painful sacrifices. No parent should ever make the terrible choice of putting food on the table, buying medicine or paying for power, yet these are very real issues for tens of millions of Americans". He went on to say, at a time when more than 100 million Americans qualify for energy assistance and 45 million live in poverty, affordable energy is critical.

The preceding year has been the most expensive year for electricity in the US. These prices continue into 2015, increasing 53% since 2000. Boyce said the accelerated power price in recent years is mainly due to policy actions forcing utilities to use less coal and take on high renewable mandates, subsequently increasing use of the highest-cost form of electricity. Although wind and solar provide about 5% of US electricity, they are subsidized over US$85 billion during the last 60 years.

"The greatest problem we confront is not an environmental crisis predicted by flawed computer models, but a human crisis that is fully within our power to solve," Boyce said. He believes across the world there is a lack of proper electricity. 3.5 billion people are short of proper electricity, billions spending their days foraging for biofuel to cook and heat, and billions having no access to clean water or sanitary facilities. Boyce states the Administration is not considering the consequences for these people as the Administration continues to persue a carbon agenda.

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Administrator has said that the Clean Power Plan isn't about 'pollution' but is an 'investment opportunity.' Yet this concept runs afoul of the Clean Air Act, setting the stage for major legal challenges," Boyce said.

According to analyst Wood Mackenzie, coal generates about 40% of US power, 40% of global power, and provides the lowest cost electricity of any major

"We can achieve our environmental goals. The key is to analyse the system holistically and set goals on a rational time frame. We should not mandate artificial carbon caps, carbon taxes or renewable mandates that will hurt people and cripple economies for negligible environmental benefit," stated Boyce. He goes on to explain, if the EPA power plant proposal is implemented, the average global temperature would be reduced by less than two-hundredths of one degree, offering no material benefit under climate theory.

Many states along with members of Congress, governors, attorneys general, business associations and citizen groups, oppose the rule.

"As the Administration attempts to lead the world toward a carbon treaty, we need to stop and take note of valuable lessons," Boyce said. "Jurisdictions like Australia, the European Union and Ontario, Canada, have tried such policies only to see their economies turned upside down."

Australia elected a new government with the mandate to repeal the carbon tax, which cost the Australian economy more than $20 million a day. Europe embraced the world's first cap and trade system. Today Spain's residential power prices are two-and-a-half times higher than the United States and Germany's power prices are three times higher than the United States.

"All of us share the goals of a strong economy and healthy environment. But there is a far better and more practical path," said Boyce. "The solution comes in the form of clean coal technologies that can accelerate the transition toward a low-carbon energy future."

"Advancing social and economic progress should be our overriding goals. We must put in place a technology path for long-term improvement in carbon emissions that will enable us to use more coal more cleanly delivering major results right now," said Boyce.

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