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Low Emission Technologies Key to Meeting Climate Goals

Monday, December 1, 2014

The World Coal Association (WCA) has called on governments to support all low emission technologies in their efforts to reduce global CO2 emissions and meet climate goals.

Speaking ahead of the start of the latest round of UN climate negotiations in Lima (COP20), Benjamin Sporton, WCA’s Acting Chief Executive, stated: “Coal plays a vital role in society, not only providing over 40% of global electricity but also as an indispensable ingredient in modern infrastructure. And forecasts show that this role is set to continue.

“We will inevitably hear criticism of coal over coming weeks but cleaner coal technologies are essential to affordable action on climate change. Technologies such as high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal plants and carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS), can make a significant contribution to reducing global CO2 emissions.”

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meetings starting today in Lima are a key milestone on the road to a new climate treaty, due to be agreed at COP21 in Paris in December 2015.

Mr Sporton highlighted the contribution that can be made by HELE and CCUS technologies: “Increasing the average efficiency of the global coal fleet from the current level of 33% to 40% – which can be done with off-the-shelf technology – would save around 2 gigatonnes of CO2 annually. This is a significant contribution to global efforts – roughly equivalent to India’s total annual emissions.

“All low emission technologies are needed to meet climate targets. It’s not about picking technology winners. We cannot meet our energy needs, tackle energy poverty and reduce global emissions without utilising all low emission technology options available to us.”

Building on the Warsaw Communiqué, launched with the support of the Polish Government at COP19 in November 2013, the WCA is again calling for stakeholders to support the three-step call to action on reducing emissions from coal.

“The Warsaw Communiqué challenges the misconception that the use of coal is incompatible with meeting the challenge of climate change. There are existing technologies that allow coal to be used while minimising climate impacts. These HELE coal combustion technologies can lower greenhouse gas emissions immediately, highlighting the importance of deploying them as widely and as quickly as possible,” said Mr Sporton.

“CCUS will be a key technology to reduce CO2 emissions, not only from coal, but also gas and industrial sources. The International Energy Agency has estimated that CCUS could deliver 14% of cumulative GHG emissions cuts through to 2050 and that climate change action will cost an additional US$4.7 trillion without CCUS. However, in comparison to other low carbon technologies, CCUS is underfunded. Nuclear and renewable energy projects (excluding hydroelectricity) receive US$45 billion and US$27 billion in public funds respectively every year. In comparison, in the decade since 2005, only US$12.2 billion has been available to fund CCUS demonstration…in total,” continued Mr Sporton.

“It is vital that negotiators in Lima support all low emission technologies if we are to have an effective and sustainable climate response, which integrates environmental imperatives with the legitimate aims of energy security and economic development, including poverty alleviation.”


World Coal Association

The World Coal Association is a global industry association formed of major international coal producers and stakeholders. The WCA works to demonstrate and gain acceptance for the fundamental role coal plays in achieving a sustainable and lower carbon energy future. Membership is open to companies and not-for-profit organisations with a stake in the future of coal from anywhere in the world, with member companies represented at Chief Executive or Chairman level. WCA is the global network for the coal industry. (World Coal)

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