News Column

Stanford University Decision to Stop Investments in Coal Unhelpful to Efforts to Reduce Global Emissions

May 7, 2014



LONDON, May 7 -- The World Coal Association issued the following news release:

The World Coal Association (WCA) has today expressed its concern at the decision by Stanford University to divest its coal assets, highlighting that this 'symbolic' gesture will do nothing to help global efforts to tackle climate change.

Milton Catelin, Chief Executive of the WCA, criticised the decision by the US university, stating: "The WCA supports action on climate change; however, Stanford's decision to divest from coal will do nothing to reduce demand for coal or have an environmental benefit by way of global emissions reduction. It will instead reduce investment in companies serious about addressing coal's environmental impacts through cleaner coal technologies.

"Banning investments in coal, when coal is critical to addressing global energy poverty and when significant investments are being made to promote a sustainable future for coal, may have serious consequences, especially for developing countries in desperate need of energy."

International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts have shown that even if all current climate policies are implemented, global coal demand is still likely to increase by 50% by 2035.

"Given this growth, it is important for us to treat energy poverty, economic development and global climate objectives as integrated priorities - and there are coal technologies, including high-efficiency low emissions coal technologies and, in the long run, carbon capture use and storage that can provide a pathway to meeting these challenges," Mr Catelin stated.

Increasing the average efficiency rate of all coal-fired power stations globally to modern efficiency standards of 45% would cut global CO2 emissions by 2.4 Gt annually. This is the equivalent of India's annual CO2 emissions, running the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme for 53 years at its current rate, or running the Kyoto Protocol three times over.

"Coal remains the cornerstone of energy systems for many countries worldwide, particularly in developing countries where coal is fuelling economic development and alleviating energy poverty. Coal provides more affordable energy than any other fuel to developed and developing nations alike. Symbolic gestures will not help us meet the global challenges we face - energy access, energy security, affordability of energy and reducing emissions all require us to work together," Mr Catelin stated.

[Category: Energy]

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