The World Coal Assocation issued a Communiqué in Warsaw on 21 November at the much-criticized International Coal and Climate Summit which was held simultaneously with the UN Climate Conference COP19 in Warsaw.
In this so-called Warsaw Communiqué the coal industry calls on governments to introduce performance standards for power plants to lower CO2 emissions in the world.
The literal text of the Communiqué is as follows:
“We note that while Parties to the UNFCCC have not been able to agree on an international legally binding agreement setting out a pathway for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from both developed and developing countries, existing international environmental agreements refer to the use of best available technologies for minimising the environmental footprint of various industrial and power generation processes, taking into account national circumstances and the economic and technical feasibility, and affordability of those technologies.
We therefore bring to the attention of policy-makers the fact that high-efficiency low-emissions coal combustion technologies are commercially available and, if deployed, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the entire power sector by around 20% (equivalent to the total annual CO2 emissions of India) – a low-hanging fruit in global GHG mitigation which should be given more attention in the current context of global economic slowdown.
We also underline the potential of other innovative coal technologies, such as coal gasification, which can further enhance the role of coal in the low-emissions economy.
Recognising international consensus on the need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, in conformity with the objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Recognising the need to address the problem of energy poverty, which still affects 1.3 billion who have no access to electricity and three billion who rely on wood and dung for cooking and heating their households, as reaffirmed during the United Nations Sustainable Development Conference and in the document the “Future we Want”.
Recalling that the International Energy Agency has estimated that half of the on-grid electricity needed to provide “sustainable energy access for all” will come from coal.
Recalling that hard coal and brown coal play a major role in delivering electricity and energy across the globe, supplying over 40% of global electricity generation and almost 30% of global primary energy consumption, coal is a fundamental ingredient for the creation of steel and concrete, has been the fastest growing energy fuel in the first decade of the 21st century and has been a critical enabler in economic development and poverty alleviation globally.
Based on the above facts we call for the immediate use of high-efficiency low-emissions coal combustion technologies, wherever it is economic and technically feasible at existing and new power plants, as an immediate step in lowering greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants around the world and a necessary milestone towards the deployment of carbon capture utilisation and storage technologies once demonstrated and commercialised.
In particular we call on governments to set an ambitious pathway, before COP20, to move the global average efficiency of coal-fired power generation plants to current state of the art levels and to support R&D efforts to further improve the efficiency of coal combustion technologies. We also call on development Banks to support developing countries in accessing clean coal technologies, including high-efficiency low-emissions coal combustion technologies.”
Note that Euracoal, the European Association for Coal and Lignite, this week also issued a new edition of its handbook Coal Industry Across Europe, which you can find here.