Papal encyclical demonstrates need to address climate and energy as integrated priorities

18 June 2015

LONDON – The World Coal Association (WCA) has today called on governments worldwide to recognise the essential role played by all low emission technologies in global efforts to cut
CO2 emissions, including cleaner coal technologies.

Speaking in response to the publication of the papal encyclical on the environment, Benjamin Sporton, WCA Chief Executive stated: “Pope Francis has highlighted the huge challenge we
face in reducing global CO2 emissions. If we are to significantly cut CO2 emissions, it is essential that we recognise the vital role of coal in many countries and look at ways to reduce
emissions from coal use.”

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global electricity from coal is expected to grow by around 33% to 2040. Demand for coal in Southeast Asia alone is expected to increase 4.8% a year through to 2035.

“The reason for this growth is that there are very real energy needs to be met,” said Mr 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.

“All low emission technologies are therefore needed, including 21st century coal technology – high efficiency low emissions power generation and carbon capture, use and storage. We
need to focus on practical solutions to meeting global energy needs and cutting global CO2 emissions – they are integrated priorities.”

High efficiency low emissions (HELE) coal technologies provide significant immediate CO2 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 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions – equivalent to India’s annual CO2 emissions or running the Kyoto Protocol three times over.

“To support this, the World Coal Association has proposed a global Platform for Accelerating Coal Efficiency (PACE). PACE’s vision is to support deployment of the most efficient coal-fired power plant technology possible to enable developing and emerging economies to access the benefits of affordable, reliable electricity from coal while minimising CO2 emissions,” said Mr Sporton.

“All sources of energy have a role to play in meeting demand – both in developed and developing countries. While renewables have an important role to play in providing off-grid electricity to domestic users, it is impossible for an economy to develop without access to affordable, reliable, grid-based electricity.

“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,” said Mr Sporton.
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Notes
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.

For further information, please contact:
Katie Warrick, Director – Communications
kwarrick@worldcoal.org
t: +44 (0) 20 7851 0052