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December 19, 2017

British coal still burning abroad despite push for global ban


December 19, 2017

LONDON: Britain led calls for an end to coal-fired power generation at United Nations climate talks in Bonn last month but at the same time British companies are active in coal projects around the world, often with government help.

In Britain, the use of coal in electricity generation has declined sharply since the introduction of a carbon tax in 2013, although the country remains a centre of coal-mining expertise. Many in the mining industry see no contradiction. They say coal remains the best option in some countries and it would be hypocritical for the developed world to deny emerging economies the power they need. There is however a clash with the words of the British climate minister, who said the world needed to stop burning coal to meet UN targets to slow climate change.

Britain led an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation in the EU and developed countries by 2030 and by 2050 worldwide at UN talks in Bonn on implementing the Paris agreement on climate change.

It also announced programmes worth more than 300 million pounds ($400 million) to help developing countries tackle climate change. At home, Britain plans to phase out coal power plants by 2025, unless they have technology to capture and store emissions.

"The biggest thing the world can do is stop burning coal. That is the biggest, number one thing we need to do to try to meet the Paris Agreement targets," British climate minister Claire Perry said following the Bonn talks.

Coal-fired power stations emit around twice as much carbon dioxide, blamed for global warming, as gas generation, while nuclear and renewable energy produce electricity without emissions. Asked if there was any contradiction between calling for a global phase-out and encouraging exports to supply the coal industry abroad, a government spokesman said Britain adhered to a 2015 international deal that bars financial help for exporters of equipment to heavily polluting coal operations.

EXPORTING IS GREATThat deal, agreed by members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), does not prevent other forms of support, which is part of the work of the British government´s Department for International Trade (DIT).

The DIT gives no direct funding, but takes part in overseas mining events, such as conferences, provides information on projects, builds contacts and administers advice. Chinese partners.

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