UK clean energy milestone

UK coal fired electricity graphThe United Kingdom generated 100% of its power from sources other than coal last Friday.  This day made history, the first time since 1882 that the UK had not relied on coal for electricity production for a continuous 24 hours. National Grid spokesman Sean Kemp told the New York Times that this marks “a kind of end of an era.” 

Coal consumption has steadily declined in the UK, which has participated in the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol as a member of the EU.  Since 2012, two-thirds of Britain’s coal-fired power generating capacity has been closed. In 2012, coal accounted for 40% of electricity production.In 2015, that statistic dropped to 23% and one year later, to 9%. The UK is aiming to phase out coal entirely by 2025. When it does, it will join nearby Belgium, Norway, and Switzerland, and Vermont and Idaho* across the pond, as coal-free power generators.

* We have to drop to state level jurisdictions in the United States, because the US overall still sources 30% of its electricity from coal.

Coal plant capacity decline worldwide

global coal plant trackerThe Global Coal Plan Tracker reports this week that the “coal plant pipeline” (defined as coal-fired generating capacity in pre-construction planning) dropped 14% during the first half of 2016. This 158 gigawatts (GW) reduction (from 1,090 GW in January 2016 to 932 GW in July) almost equals the EU’s total coal-fired generating capacity.  The report points out significant drops in Asia, with China leading the way at -114 GW followed by India at -40 GW.  Both countries made policy announcements to decrease coal usage in the past year. In addition, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines have made announcements or taken actions to reduce their use of coal.

Despite this trend, the report underscores that the amount of coal-fired energy capacity in planning and construction phases will nonetheless exceed the global carbon budget for limiting warming to 1.5°C.  For more detailed analysis, including by geographical region, country, and types of plants, read here.

Climate Change News from Across the Pond

Newsflash #1

france frackFrance has announced that it might stop importing shale natural gas from the United States because it’s extracted using hydraulic fracturing.  Fracking was banned in France in 2011. Two French utilities currently contract with Houston-based Cheniere Energy, which sells them liquified natural gas (LNG) comprised of 40% shale gas. Notably, this policy debate in France is taking place as the US seeks to step up its LNG exports to Europe.

Newsflash #2

UK national gridThe United Kingdom used no coal in the electricity that flowed from Britain’s National Grid between midnight and 4am on May 10. This is a first since the 19th century. A number of reasons contributed to this moment. A carbon tax has made coal unprofitable in the UK and led to increased use of renewables and gas. The UK has also signaled its intent to phase out coal by 2025. In addition to all the sound policy making, serendipity also played a role in the UK’s May 10 first:  a series of power plant breakdowns occurred!  For more details on this – and the bumps in transitioning to a clean grid, read here.

US energy use of coal drops big

EIA coal dropThe US Energy Information Administration reported last week that US power plants reduced their use of coal by almost 30% during the past nine years.  In 2015, 739 million short tons of coal were burned to produce electricity, down from a 1.045 billion short tons in 2007, the peak year.

Coal use also fell in nearly every state. States with the largest declines are in the Midwest and Southeast, with six states in these regions accounting for nearly half of the national decline. Smaller declines can be seen in the Rocky Mountain region. Pennsylvania’s coal consumption fell by 44% and Ohio’s, by 49%. (Fracking of the Utica and Marcellus shales resulted in these largest declines.)  Alaska and Nebraska are the only states to have increased their use.

What took coal’s place? Natural gas and renewable energies.  According to the EIA, “increased supply of natural gas and a resulting natural gas price decline spurred increases in natural gas-fired power generation in several states, generally at the expense of coal-fired generation. Electricity generation from wind and solar sources also increased significantly over this period, driven by a combination of federal tax credits, state-level mandates, and technology improvements.”

UK hits new carbon low

uk-energy-infrastrucutre-closures_499x255The United Kingdom’s carbon emissions have fallen to their lowest level since the 1920s. Coal consumption in 2015 fell 22% from 2014, and led to a 4% decrease in GHG emissions. Renewable energy produced 25% of the UK’s electricity in 2015. This trend is expected to continue in 2016, as four coal plants closed in March. The Cameron government has pledged to shutter all of the UK’s coal plants by 2025.  For more detailed analysis, read the Carbon Brief.

China now sets its cap on energy consumption

china capChina just announced in its 13th Five Year Plan (2016-202) that it will set an energy consumption cap.  Its goal: to improve industrial efficiency and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The consumption cap will be 5 billion tons of standard coal equivalent by 2020.  China also pledged to cut carbon intensity by 18% by the same deadline.  The Five Year Plan nonetheless predicts that GDP will continue to grow, by 6.5% per year during this period.  According to a new study from the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute (to be published in Climate Policy this week), China’s carbon emissions may have already peaked, due to a reduction in coal use and its economic slow down. As we blogged recently, China has already taken steps toward cutting 500 million tons of surplus coal capacity in the next five years.

China pledged in Paris to reduce its carbon intensity 60-65% below 2005 levels by 2030 and peak its GHG emissions by the end of next decade.  Analysts believe that the top GHG emitter in the world will beat this target by at least five years.

Cleaning up India’s energy mix

dehli pollution2015 marked the first time that the average Indian was exposed to more air pollution from fine particulate matter than the average Chinese, reports Greenpeace. In response, India has introduced new taxes aimed at cutting pollution and reducing emissions.  The country’s finance minister announced this week a tax of up to 4% on new passenger vehicles.  It’s estimated that almost 40% of Dehli’s air pollution comes from vehicle emissions alone.

India is also taking aim at cleaning up its energy mix, both for local pollution abatement gains and for global GHG mitigation.  When announcing the car tax, the finance ministry also announced a doubling of its tax on coal, which comprises 70% percent of India’s energy mix. With an eye toward low carbon energy sources, the government plans to allocate $430 million for nuclear power development.

It also continues to emphasize solar energy development. The BRICS development bank, along with the World Bank and the Asian Development india solar missionBank, recently announced that they will each provide $500 million in financing for rooftop solar in India. These loans will be used to provide a 30% subsidy to public institutions that set up rooftop solar power systems. India aims to have 100 GW of solar power capacity operational by April 2022, with 40% of it coming from rooftop solar. Currently rooftop solar contributes only 10% of the total 5 GW solar power capacity.  To spur development, the Indian Cabinet recently approved a rooftop solar subsidy of $770 million by 2022 for public institutions, to complement the international development bank loan pledges.


Peeking into China’s Peak

2014-09-10-ChinablogpicUPDATE: China’s National Bureau of Statistics (analyzed by Greenpeace) just confirmed that the country’s CO2 emissions fell by 1-2% in 2015 while 2-4% less coal was used and 32.5 gigawatts of wind and 18.3 gigawatts of solar were used in 2015.

China’s imports of coal fell to the lowest in four years in 2015, dropping 30% as a combination of air pollution laws and economic slow downs have decreased demand. Overall coal consumption was down more than 5% last year. Beijing has already announced that it will end coal usage in the capital city and its surrounding areas by 2020, using natural gas instead to meet electricity needs.

Looking ahead, China’s peak promises, made in its INDC filed in June 2015, are gaining more traction.

The decline in CO2 emissions from coal burning in China may accelerate after the head of China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) announced this week that the government would restrain the construction of new coal-fired power plants.  This policy shift includes withdrawing some approvals already given in regions with the biggest capacity surpluses.  In addition, China will close more than 1000 coal mines this year, which lowers total production capacity by 60 million tons. China has a total of 10,760 mines, and 5,600 of them will eventually be shuttered under a policy to close those with an annual output lower than 90,000 tons, the China National Coal Association has estimated. The country produced 3.7 million tons of coal last year and has an estimated capacity of 2 billion tons per year. The NEA announcement on Monday confirmed that these closures were part of a plan to shut down as much as 500 million tons of surplus production capacity within the next three to five years.

Interesting, this same NEA statement also spoke of renewable energy, urging parties to solve the alleged problem of limiting renewable energy in regional grids, where local governments tend to favor major coal companies over renewable generators.





Flat lining of GHG emissions in 2014: trend or one off?

smokestacksThe International Energy IEA recently released data showing that the global CO2 emissions associated with the energy sector remained stable in 2014, not increasing from the 2013 output even though the world economy grew.  E&E reported that “researchers said the early numbers showing that CO2 emissions remained steady at 32.3 billion metric tons in 2014 mark[s] the first time in 40 years that a dip in energy-sector emissions has not been linked to an economic downturn.”

IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol said that “this gives me even more hope that humankind will be able to work together to combat climate change, the most important threat facing us today.  It provides much-needed momentum to negotiators preparing to forge a global climate deal in Paris in December: for the first time, greenhouse gas emissions are decoupling from economic growth.”  Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, noted that if this data is correct, “you can actually start to see the climate policies as they start to work. At the global level, this is very exciting.”  For more specifics about why (including China’s impact on the 2014 data), read here.

Spotlight on India at COP20

“We have forgotten to live with nature,”  India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, told a group of school india modikids in September.  Urging them to conserve electricity by switching off fans and lights when not in use and turning off tap water when brushing teeth, he connected energy use with climate change impacts.  Modi wrote a 2011 e-book, Convenient Action (a play on words on Gore’s more well known An Inconvenient Truth), which chronicled his climate change mitigation work as chief minister of the western state of Gujarat.

As the world’s fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the U.S., India’s approach to the climate change negotiations that will start next Monday at COP20/CMP10  is under a particularly glaring spotlight after the US-China climate change announcement two weeks ago.  In India, coal use is rising,India nationa-emissions-and-projected leading to a carbon dioxide emissions increase last year (5.1%) that surpassed China’s (4.2%) and the United States’ (2.9%).

Yet India has a very large number of poor people, with national income levels several times lower than those of China.  According to World Bank, 25% of India’s population lived at the poverty level of $1.25 a day or less in 2011, compared to 6% of China’s population.  Unsurprisingly, Prime Minister Modi faces huge pressure to develop economically; he already promised on the campaign trail to provide around-the-clock electricity for all citizens by 2022, given the current prevalence of power blackouts.

Modi’s approach domestically is called “Development Without Destruction,” with an emphasis on windIndia RE energy (doubling capacity over the next five years) and energy efficiency of cars, appliances, and buildings. His government has also recently called for a fivefold increase in solar power usage, targeting total renewable energy use at 100 gigawatts by 2022.  This internal stance is in line with its voluntary pledge at COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 to cut the “intensity” of its carbon emissions and thereby reducing CO2 emissions from economic output by 20-25% from 2005 levels by 2020.  Nonetheless, coal now accounts for 59% of India’s electric capacity and the country seeks to lower coal imports and double domestic production to one billion tons during the next five years.

According to Alyssa Ayres, senior fellow and India expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, “India’s willing to make commitments to its own people” but not to the world. “I would not expect any big shift in India’s climate policy in the next year or two … It’s not ready to make binding international commitments.”

Perhaps India’s growing miindia killer airddle class, suffering under the same degree of illness-inducing air pollution as its Chinese peers, will provide a new internal push for clean energy production and energy efficiency? The  World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 13 of the top 20 cities worldwide with the dirtiest air are in India – not China, as many believe.


Africa on track to contribute to majority of global particulate matter

A study co-authored by researchers from France and Cote d’Ivoire concludes that Africa will contribute as much as 55% of the world’s particle pollutants by 2030.  In 2005, the continent accounted for 5% of suAfrica_Climatelphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions and 20% of organic carbon emissions.  These particles come from petrol and diesel fuel combustion for transportation, and coal, fuel wood, charcoal, and animal waste incineration for heating and cooking.   By 2100, Africa will represent 40% of the world population, with its urban population doubling from 2000 to 2030.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than two million people die every year from breathing in tiny particles in indoor and outdoor air pollution.  These particles can cause asthma and allergies, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

What to do?  The study recommends two strategies to fit the continent’s geography and development:  Increased use of biofuels to decrease domestic emissions in west and east Africa, and decreased reliance on coal as a source of industrial and power plant emissions in southern Africa.

Germany, Exhibit A of the EU Emissions Debate

Although Germany is popularly viewed as an international leader in the clean energy field, its 2013 performance in producing electricity german renewablestells a different story.   Electricity output from brown coal plants rose .8% in 2013, to 162 billion kilowatt hours, according to the German Institute for Economic Research.   This was the highest level since reunification, when Germany produced almost 171 billion kilowatt hours of power from coal, many in old eastern German plants.  Consequently, Germany’s CO2 emissions will have risen in 2013, even though electricity from renewables is now 25% of the energy portfolio.  (In 2014 alone, surcharges on electricity bills will generate €23.5 billion worth of subsidies for wind and solar power projects.)

This paradox is explained by two main reasons.  First, the low price of CO2 emissions permits in the EU trading scheme has not produced german coal firedsufficient incentives to switch sources.   Second (and related to the first), new brown coal plants came on line in 2012 with a generating capacity more than twice that of the plants being shut down that year.  Build it and they will use.   In addition, electricity production from gas-fired plants fell by almost 15% (due in part to them being more expensive to run), resulting in coal plants mostly replacing the capacity lost when Germany shut down eight nuclear plants in 2011.

This increase in coal-generated power, and the larger context of higher priced gas-generated power, has led to Germany exporting more electricity than it imports.  The Berlin-based think tank Agora Energiewende observed that German coal-fired plants “are crowding out gas plants not just in Germany but also abroad — especially in the Netherlands.”

Gerald Neubauer of Greenpeace declared that “the coal boom now endangers Germany’s credibility on climate protection and the energy revolution,” and requires the Social Democrats to adopt a more critical stance.  This internal political debate will likely be felt in the upcoming EU elections as well.  And in the EU’s position at future UNFCCC negotiations when offering nationally determined commitments.

EU Debating Internally Its Carbon Emission Pledges

This article in Bloomberg News explores the divide among EU member countries when setting the bloc’s overall commitments under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, as well as those it will agree to in the KP’s successor agreement due to be signed in Paris in 2015.  A draft plan due to be released tomorrow by the European Commission (EC) seeks to commit the EU’s 28 member countries to reducing carbon emissions by 35 – 40% by 2030.  (Currently the EU has pledged a 21% cut by 2020 over 2005 levels.)

Polish coal fired utilityThis plan’s ambitions pose internal political challenges.  Retail power prices have spiked 65% from 2004 to 2011,while natural gas prices have risen by 42%.  In comparison, inflation has been 18% during that same time period.  Some EU members, like Germany, France, Italy, and the U.K., support the 40% target while countries like Poland, which derives almost all of its electricity from coal, opposes it.  Likewise, there is disagreement on how to balance the policy goals of overall reduction targets with renewable energy targets.  Four years ago, when making the 2020 pledge, the EU also aimed to have 20% of energy consumption by 2020 come from renewables. Germany, France, Ireland, Denmark, and Belgium continue to support having a separate renewables target, while the U.K. opposes it.  Internal politics is key to the EU’s next climate policy steps:  the European Parliament is due for elections in May and the EC, in October.

In the larger picture also looms external political concerns.  “What we must do is to keep climate policy, but we have to put at the same level cost competitiveness for energy and security of supply,” said the president of BusinessEurope, a Brussels-based group that represents companies from 35 European countries. “If we go for 40 percent unilaterally this would be absolutely against industrial competitiveness of Europe. The goal has to be realistic.”danish wind turbine

Reconciling the internal and external political concerns is not only key to the EU setting its internal climate policy, but also critical for the UNFCCC negotiations: the EU has the biggest emissions trading system (covering some 12,000 utilities and manufacturers) and the most advanced limits on carbon emissions (covering industrial sectors outside the ETS).  Consequently it is a leader both in setting ambition and devising the mechanisms for achieving sustainable development for developed countries.

Warsaw, Wildlife, and Greenpeace

The trip has cIMG_2014ome to an end. And what an experience it was. During the 12-14 hour days, it felt like it was going on forever, but at the end of theIMG_2023 week I was questioning where my week had gone. Some of the highlights included getting 2 feet away from Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, walking around Old Town, hearing the inspiring words of Christiana Figueres, working with my great NGO, Wildlife Conservation Society, actually seeing the international process at work, and getting to know my fellow VLS delegates better.

My biggest disappointment was the lack of discussion throughout the week on my chosen topic: wildlife, endangered species, and biodiversity. While I tried to tailor each of my posts to my topic and analyze each side event to figure out its indirect link to the conservation of species, I noticed that the topic was rarely, if ever, discussed. Biodiversity and ecosystems where mentioned broadly here and there (most notably in the ocean acidification and REDD+ side events I attended), but for the most part, I heard nothing on how climate change is adversely impacting CITES-logo-high-resolution-300x171species. I am aware that the UN has other treaties, such as the Convention on Biodiversity and CITES, but knowing what I know about how climate change is affecting species, I would have thought at least one side event would have had that focus. This became particularly more puzzling to me when I learned more than one wildlife conservation group attended the CoP. While I realize that most people place a higher value on the plights of the human race when it comes to climate change, the importance of conserving biodiversity cannot be overlooked. As the Lion King says: “we are all connected in the great circle of life.”

On my last night in Poland, Heather, Lindsay, and I had the unique experience of attending a Greenpeace party. Greenpeace gave a recap of of their 2 weeks at the CoP. They had some exciting protests against cop19_greenpeace_670pcPoland’s reliance on coal and unveiled brilliant t-shirts: a play on the Godfather – the “coalfather.” I, not for lack of want, did not get lucky enoughBZboykZCIAANefn.jpg_large to secure one. There were also several demonstrations on the Arctic 30. Greenpeace is currently on a campaign to free the arctic 30; 30 peaceful activists from around the world who boarded the Arctic Sunrise in an attempt to board a Russian oil rig in protest of reliance on fossil fuels and to try and stop the drilling. The Russian authorities took control of the Arctic Sunrise and the arctic 30, who are now detained in Russia for piracy and hooliganism. Their call: “Free the Arctic 30.”

190010eb-f999-4d88-990c-f46dd6596ee8.fileGreenpeace in Greenland

Overall, I am thankful for this cultural and learning experience.




Gender Day – UNFCCC’s Christiana Figueres gives no love to (coal) scrubs, calls on women to demand climate action

Today is Gender Day at the UNFCCC COP19. The purpose of Gender Day is to raise awareness on gender in the climate change context. It is not just a thematic day, it is a legal mandate from the Doha Climate Gateway, Decision 23/CP.18, to examine gender balance in the UNFCCC negotiations.


UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres addresses COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland.

“2. [The Conference of the Parties] Decides to enhance decision 36/CP.7 by adopting a goal of gender balance in bodies established pursuant to the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, in order to improve women’s participation and inform more effective climate change policy that addresses the needs of women and men equally…9. [The parties to the UNFCCC] Decides to add the issue of gender and climate change as a standing item on the agenda of sessions of the Conference of the Parties to allow the Conference of the Parties to consider the information referred to in paragraph 8 above…10. Requests the secretariat to organize, in conjunction with the nineteenth session of the Conference of the Parties, an in-session workshop on gender balance in the UNFCCC process, gender-sensitive climate policy and capacity-building activities to promote the greater participation of women in the UNFCCC process…” (emphasis added)

As part of increasing awareness around gender issues and strengthening women’s voices, I attended the UNFCCC Gender 50/50 event featuring several high level women working on gender and climate change issues, including the UNFCCC’s Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, Helen Clark (UNDP Administrator), Lakshmi Puri (Deputy Executive Director of UN Women), Bianca Jagger (Founder and Chair, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation), Mary Robinson (Former President of Ireland, and President, Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice (MRFCJ)), Tarja Halonen (Former President of Finland), Riley McAuliffe (Global Voices), Elizabeth Njoroge (Executive Director, The Art of Music Foundation), and Wanda Nowicka (Member of Parliament, Poland). They spoke on how climate change impacts them, their families and those around the world. They shared their vision for a world that recognizes gender equality.


Each speaker emphasized that adverse climate change impacts women disproportionately from men. The majority of women around the world run the household, often living below the poverty line. Women have to fetch the water, collect firewood, tend the garden, take care of the family and other household tasks. waterThe purpose of the UNFCCC mandate on gender, is to increase the participation of women at the international level, in the negotiations, and on delegations. Women need to be included at all levels of the decision-making process in order to help support mitigation and adaptation efforts. Also, women need to speak up to have their voices heard, including those working at the highest levels of diplomacy.CCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, and other prominent women leaders who shared their vision for women empowerment. Each shared their vision and dreams for women empowerment. The women sitting up front all faced their share of adversity to rise to leadership roles in a male-dominated world. Figueres even choked up a little when speaking about her experiences.

Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, saluted Figueres for speaking at the World Coal Association’s “coal summit” yesterday. The ill-timing of the conference was not lost on Figueres and she paid a visit to the “coal summit.” Figueres urged the energy companies to keep fossil fuels in the ground and shut down dirty power plants and inject carbon emissions into the ground, such as through CCS.


“The world is rising to meet the climate challenge as risks of inaction mount, and it is in your best interest to make coal part of the solution

Scientists at COP 19 determined that 3.8 trillion tonnes (1 tonne = 1.102 metric tons) of carbon dioxide trapped in the world’s fossil reserves, about 60 percent of it in coal. Also, the scientists reported that 1 trillion tonnes would suffice to push the post-industrial temperature rise past 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit). The science supports leaving the fossil fuel resources into the ground. However, the energy and business industries, comprised of mostly male-dominated institutions, leave much to be desired in climate mitigation.  The current rules and regulations and mind-sets in the government and business worlds were shaped by a process that historically and currently excludes women. Their voices were never given a chance to shape the world we live in today, but this paradigm is changing as women around the world refuse to remain silent.

Women are the most affected by adverse climate change impacts. Yet they have not had much say in the process. Can empowering women in the climate change negotiations process find solutions to the climate crisis? There is hope. Women just have to keep supporting and pushing women to raise their voices and share their dreams of a better planet. For now, Figueres is leading the way.

Christiana Figueres’s speech:

Your Excellency, Mr. Deputy Prime Minister,

Honourable Member of the European Parliament,

Distinguished Chair of the World Coal Association,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I appreciate the opportunity to address the International Coal and Climate Summit in a frank and honest exchange on the transition to a low-emission economy.

Let me be clear from the outset that my joining you today is neither a tacit approval of coal use, nor a call for the immediate disappearance of coal. But I am here to say that coal must change rapidly and dramatically for everyone’s sake.

There are some who, deeply concerned about the devastating effects of climate change already felt by vulnerable populations around the world, are calling for the immediate shut down of all coal plants.

There are others who think that coal does not have to change at all, that we can continue to extract and burn as we have done in the past.

The first view does not take into account the immediate needs of nations looking to provide reliable energy to rapidly growing populations in pursuit of economic development and poverty eradication.

The second view does not take into account the immediate need for climate stability on this planet, necessary for the wellbeing of present and future generations.

Today I want to set out an alternative path that is admittedly not easy, but is undoubtedly necessary. That path must acknowledge the past, consider the present and chart a path towards an acceptable future for all. I join you today to discuss this path for two reasons.

First, the energy sector is an intrinsic component of a sustainable future.

And second, the coal industry must change and you are decision makers who have the knowledge and power to change the way the world uses coal.

The path forward begins in the past, recognizing that coal played a key role in the history of our economic development. From heating to transportation to the provision of electricity, coal has undoubtedly enabled much of our progress over the last 200 years.

Coal was at the heart of the developed world’s Industrial Revolution and brought affordable energy to the developing world. However, while society has benefitted from coal-fuelled development, we now know there is an unacceptably high cost to human and environmental health.

The science is clear. The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report outlines our predicament. We are at unprecedented GHG concentrations in the atmosphere; our carbon budget is half spent. If we continue to meet energy needs as we have in the past, we will overshoot the internationally agreed goal to limit warming to less than two degree Celsius.

AR5 is not science fiction, it is science fact.

AR5 is the overwhelming consensus of 200 lead authors synthesizing the work of 600 scientists who analysed 9000 peer-reviewed publications. AR5 is arguably the most rigorous scientific report ever written. And, the findings of the AR5 have been endorsed by 195 governments, including all of those in which you operate.

There is no doubt that the science is a clarion call for the rapid transformation of the coal industry. Just this morning, more than 25 leading climate and energy scientists from around the world released a clear statement about the need to radically rethink coal’s place in our energy mix.

Considering that coal energy loads the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses, competes for water and impacts public health, the call of science has already been answered by a wide gamut of stakeholders:

Students, faith-based organizations and citizens are asking their investment managers to divest from coal and other fossil fuels. Cities choked by air pollution are limiting the burning of coal.

Development banks have stopped funding unabated coal. Commercial financial institutions are analysing the implications of unburnable carbon for their investment strategies. Pricing of GHG emissions is on the rise, evidenced by trading markets coming online around the globe. And, international policy is moving us toward a global low-emission economy.

All of this tells me that the coal industry faces a business continuation risk that you can no longer afford to ignore.

Like any other industry, you have a fiduciary responsibility to your workforce and your shareholders. Like any other industry, you are subject to the major political,

economic and social shifts of our time. And by now it should be abundantly clear that further capital expenditures on coal can go ahead only if they are compatible with the two degree Celsius limit.

Ladies and gentlemen, the coal industry has the opportunity to be part of the worldwide climate solution by responding proactively to the current paradigm shift. It would be presumptuous of me to put forward a transition plan for coal as you are the repositories of knowledge and experience, and the assets you manage are at stake.

But there are some fundamental parameters of this transition:

    • Close all existing subcritical plants;
    • Implement safe CCUS on all new plants, even the most efficient; and
    • Leave most existing reserves in the ground.

These are not marginal or trivial changes, these are transformations that go to the core of the coal industry, and many will say it simply cannot be done. But the phrase “where there’s a will, there’s a way” is tantamount to human history because will precedes innovation, and innovation precedes transformation. John F. Kennedy called for putting man on the moon in ten years at a point when no one knew how that would be done.

We must transform coal with the same determination, the same perseverance, the same will. We must be confident that if we set an ambitious course to low-emissions, science and technology will rapidly transform systems. Above all, you must invest in this potential, because the coal industry has the most to gain by leveraging the existing capital, knowledge and capacity to transform itself.

The world is rising to meet the climate challenge as risks of inaction mount, and it is in your best interest to make coal part of the solution. These radical changes have the transformative power to bring coal in line with the direction in which society is moving.

I urge every coal company to honestly assess the financial risks of business as usual; anticipate increasing regulation, growing finance restrictions and diminishing public acceptance; and leverage technology to reduce emissions across the entire coal value chain.

You are here today as coal industry leaders, but you can also understand yourselves as long-term energy supply leaders. Some major oil, gas and energy technology companies are already investing in renewables, and I urge those of you who have not yet started to join them.

By diversifying your portfolio beyond coal, you too can produce clean energy that reduces pollution, enhances public health, increases energy security and creates new jobs.

By diversifying beyond coal, you reduce the risk of stranded assets and make yourselves ready to reap the rewards of a green economy.

By diversifying beyond coal, you can deploy your disciplined, courageous and technically skilled workforce into new renewable energy jobs, transforming your companies from within.

The Warsaw Communique is a first step for change because it shows:

    • That the Association accepts climate change as a development risk; and
    • That lower coal emissions is an aspirational and realizable goal.

The communique is a first step, but it cannot be the last. I invite you to use this Climate and Coal Summit to decide how you are going to step up to the challenge of contributing to real climate change solutions.

We must urgently take the steps that put us on an ambitious path to global peaking by the end of this decade, and zero-net emissions by the second half of the century. Steps that look past next quarter’s bottom line and see next generation’s bottom line, and steps to figure health, security and sustainability into the bottom line.

For it will be your children and my children, our grandchildren and their grandchildren who will look back at today and judge our collective commitment to them.

They must be able to look back and recognize this summit as a historic turning point for the coal industry.

Thank you.

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