The World Coal Association (WCA) has called on climate negotiators meeting this week in Bonn, Germany to take positive action to advance the deployment of all low emission technologies.

The latest round of UNFCCC climate negotiations closes in Bonn today, following a week of discussions, working groups and international negotiations.

With this in mind, WCA Chief Executive Benjamin Sporton this week issued a call to action where low emission technologies are concerned, noting, “Negotiators have a significant challenge in balancing climate objectives with the very real need to improve energy access to the 1.3 billion people worldwide who live in energy poverty.”

“Key to meeting both challenges will be low emission technologies, including high efficiency, low emission coal technologies and carbon capture and storage.”

“All sources of energy have a role to play in meeting demand – both in developed and developing countries. While renewables have an important role to play in providing off-grid electricity to domestic users, it is impossible for an economy to develop without access to affordable, reliable, grid-based electricity. Coal is a key source of grid-based electricity worldwide – according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) global electricity from coal is expected to grow by around 33% to 2040.

“It is therefore essential,” Sporton continued, “that we promote the use of the best available technology to ensure coal is used as cleanly as possible. High efficiency low emissions (HELE) coal technologies provide significant immediate CO2 (carbon dioxide) reductions and are a key step on the pathway to carbon capture and storage (CCS). Raising the average efficiency of the global coal fleet from the current 33% to 40% would save 2 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions – equivalent to India’s annual CO2 emissions or running the Kyoto Protocol three times over.”


Earlier this year, official data from China showed that coal use was continuing to fall precipitously – bringing carbon dioxide emissions down with it.

The figures suggested the decline in China’s coal use is accelerating, after figures for last year showed China’s coal use fell for the first time this century.

Coal gasification – a considerable industry in China – is a significant end-user sector for the industrial gases business, and in China in particular. The gases industry has benefited from various coal gasification projects in China in recent years, with several plants coming on-stream in the country.

Examples include six major air separation units (ASUs) that The Linde Group will make operational this year under contracts with businesses of the Shenhua Group, and Air Liquide’s complex of eight units – including an ASU of 2,000 tonnes of oxygen per day – to be commissioned at the beginning of 2016 in South-East China.