Global Coal Organization Calls for Balanced Approach to Energy Policy

The recent announcement by the Group of Seven (G7) forum to phase out unabated coal by 2035 has sparked debate and scrutiny from various quarters, including the global coal organization FutureCoal.

In response, FutureCoal’s CEO, Michelle Manook, has urged world leaders to adopt a balanced, pragmatic, and responsible approach to energy policy.

Manook emphasized the importance of clarity and practicality in the G7’s decision, particularly noting that many G7 nations do not heavily rely on coal for baseload electricity. She pointed out that countries like Germany and Japan, within the G7, have highlighted the necessity of coal for ensuring energy security. This underscores the complexity of transitioning away from coal, especially for nations with significant coal-dependent infrastructure.

The G7’s reference to unabated coal, specifically coal plants lacking carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, has raised concerns regarding the feasibility of a complete phase-out by 2035. Germany, for instance, has legislation calling for a coal phase-out by 2038, but the timeline remains uncertain due to concerns about affordable energy and grid reliability. Similarly, Japan, with its efficient coal power fleet, has refrained from setting a coal phase-out date, reflecting a cautious approach to energy transition.

Image: Associated Press

Manook stressed the need for a balanced approach that prioritizes affordability, reliability, and security in every nation’s energy future. She highlighted the pivotal role of coal in over 80 countries and advocated for wider international leadership beyond the G7 to engage the Global South in investing in technology solutions, including abated coal, to lower global emissions.

FutureCoal’s Sustainable Coal Stewardship roadmap offers insights into existing abatement and commercial opportunities, aligning with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming. Manook reiterated that known technologies, such as CCS, can abate up to 99% of coal emissions during combustion, emphasizing the importance of genuine international cooperation in achieving global sustainability objectives.

In summary, while acknowledging the imperative to address climate change, Manook called for a nuanced approach to coal’s future, advocating for clean coal technology and stressing the importance of considering all technological solutions to meet climate goals.

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