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Manook stresses importance of abated coal in energy future of many nations

Coal on train

Photo by Bloomberg

3rd May 2024

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online

     

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Global coal organisation FutureCoal has suggested that world leaders follow a balanced, pragmatic and responsible approach to energy policy, following an announcement by the Group of Seven (G7) forum that unabated coal will be phased out by 2035.

The announcement was made at a G7 Ministerial meeting on climate, energy and environment matters.

FutureCoal CE Michelle Manook said the release issued by the G7 was unclear on what those countries sought to achieve, as many of the G7 countries did not rely on coal for baseload electricity. Those in the G7 that do use coal, such as Germany and Japan, have publicly stated that they still need coal to provide energy security.

The G7 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.

Notably, the G7 statement referred to unabated coal as coal plants not being equipped with carbon capture and storage technology.

While German legislation still calls for a coal phase-out by 2038, an earlier phase-out remains unclear, as the country’s Finance Minister late last year dismissed government’s aim to phase out coal by 2030 if the country still lacks affordable energy.

According to Germany’s energy regulator, the lack of sufficient and dependable standby capacity such as coal will pose serious problems for the German grid.

Japan, one of the more cautious of the G7 nations, had rightly avoided a coal phase-out date, Manook said.

Japan operates the world’s most efficient coal power fleet, which has served as a bedrock for electricity supply since a mass nuclear shutdown in 2011.

Manook said a balanced approach was essential for every nation’s energy future, where affordability, reliability and security remained crucial, especially as coal was pivotal to more than 80 countries.

“The world needs wider, apolitical leadership beyond the G7 to engage the Global South in investing in all technology solutions, including abated coal, to lower global emissions.

“If the G7 or other forums choose to weigh in on these debates, then they must adopt a pragmatic and responsible fuel and technology-agnostic position supporting all nations’ sovereign rights,” Manook added.

FutureCoal has a Sustainable Coal Stewardship roadmap that showcases the existing abatement and commercial opportunities that enable the entire coal value chain to mitigate emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 ˚C above preindustrial levels.

Manook concluded by stating that known technologies could abate up to 99% of coal emissions during combustion. “Genuine international cooperation is pivotal for propelling us forward toward our global sustainability objectives.”

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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