Peabody comes back fighting for coal

DESPITE calls by world leaders to meet the challenge of climate change by curtailing the use of fossil fuels, Peabody Energy continues to argue the benefit of coal as an efficient fuel for the developing world.
Peabody comes back fighting for coal Peabody comes back fighting for coal Peabody comes back fighting for coal Peabody comes back fighting for coal Peabody comes back fighting for coal

Peabody Energy chairman and chief executive officer Gregory Boyce

Lou Caruana

The company has also cited the Australian government’s controversial decision to scrap the carbon tax as a trend by some nations to rebalance in favour of coal and fossil fuels.

A greater use of “advanced coal” would fight energy inequality and improve emissions, Peabody chairman and CEO Gregory Boyce said.

“It's time we recognise energy poverty as the most serious crisis we face and reject climate alarmism that stalls solutions for energy access that would improve health, longevity and quality of life for tens of millions of citizens around the world,” he said.

Boyce said the best way to reduce carbon and further human development is to accelerate deployment of today's advanced coal technologies that provide continued environmental improvement.

“If we are really serious about helping the impoverished, then we should be supporting activities to provide abundant low-cost energy for the billions in the world who lack it, he said.

“As the world's policy makers consider long-term energy actions, it is encouraging that more nations are realising the harm done to people due to poor carbon policies, demonstrating important lessons for today's US and global leaders.”

More than a decade ago, the United Nations developed Millennium Goals calling for a rapid halving of extreme global poverty by 2015. Today 3.5 billion people live without adequate energy access, which represents half the world's population.

Billions in south Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa spend their days foraging for wood or biomass for fuel to cook meals or heat dwellings.

The smoke from daily indoor fires is devastating, resulting in dire health effects. Household air pollution from indoor fires is estimated to be the fourth-leading cause of death in the world.

“Reasonable people can disagree on the urgency of addressing concerns about carbon, but no one can question the crisis we face when more than four million people die annually from indoor air pollution resulting from energy poverty," said Boyce.

Boyce said the ultimate human suffering from energy poverty extended to vaccines that aren't kept cold, hospitals that lack proper electricity, food that spoiled from lack of refrigeration, water that was not purified and the effects of poor sanitation.

Boyce said that choices of fuels and policies matter, as witnessed by actions globally including Australia repealed its carbon tax, which the prime minister called a “useless, destructive tax, which damaged jobs, hurt families' cost of living and didn't actually help the environment”.

Japan has stepped up support for coal-fired power plants both domestically and overseas, calling for greater use of advanced coal technology that reduces carbon dioxide emissions and India's new prime minister pledged to make electricity available to every household by 2022.

The benefits of fossil fuel energy to society outweigh the social costs of carbon by a magnitude of 50 to 500 times, Boyce said, referring to the study titled The Social Costs of Carbon? No, the Social Benefits of Carbon.

Coal is expected to fuel more energy growth than any other fuel over the next 20 years based on the International Energy Agency's current policy scenario.

More than 70 million people are expected to be added to cities each year through to 2020 as populations continue to fight poverty by migrating to urban centres. Coal is the least expensive and most reliable major form of electricity generation to meet these rising energy needs.

The World Bank also has said coal will be essential in helping Africa meet power demands.

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