IBON International COP19 Climate Update 2

By Tetet Nera-Lauron, 19 November, 2013. Source: IBON International

Activists drop a banner of the Polish Economy Ministry in Warsaw on Monday, Nov 18th, the opening day of the World Coal and Climate Summit.  Photo: AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski

Activists drop a banner off the Polish Economy Ministry in Warsaw on Monday, Nov 18th, the opening day of the World Coal and Climate Summit. Photo: AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski

‘Coal power can be part of the solution to tackling global warming. If there’s a will, there’s a way.’

This was the message of UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres at today’s opening of the 2-day World Coal and Climate Summit. While stating that her presence at the Summit is ‘neither a tacit approval of coal use, nor a call for the immediate disappearance of coal’, Figueres enjoined the coal industry to ‘change rapidly and dramatically for everyone’s sake.’

The 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the body tasked to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change, stated that the world will overshoot the internationally agreed goal to limit global warming to less than two degrees Celsius if energy demands are met in the same way as it had been in the past. The UNFCCC Chief outlined the parameters of this ‘paradigm shift’ for the coal industry: (a) close all existing subcritical plants; (b) implement safe carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) on all new plants; and (c) leave most existing reserves in the ground.

Speaking on behalf of the World Coal Association, Mr. Godfrey Gomwe, Chief Executive of the Anglo American Thermal Coal, said that ‘a life lived without access to modern energy is a life lived in poverty.’  He said that the coal industry acknowledges that it is part of the problems (of global warming), and that is why it is now going to try to be part of the solutions by promoting modern, high efficiency, low emission coal-fired power plants especially in many developing countries that have significant coal reserves. He called on the coal industry leaders to ‘help those countries utilize their natural resources in the cleanest possible way.’

Ahead of the 19th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the World Coal Association has launched the ‘Warsaw Communique’ as a call to action to support the use and deployment of more efficient coal technologies to tackle climate change. The Communique has been developed with the Polish Ministry of Economy, and had been endorsed by Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Piechocinski.

Among the corporate members of the World Coal Association include Anglo American, BHPBilliton CAT Global Mining, Rio Tinto, GE Mining, Glencore International and Mitsubishi Ltd.

More business than usual, profiting from the climate crisis.

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