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NICE France May 20 Coal will remain the
backbone of global energy supply for the next 25 years, Fatih
Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency said
Speaking at McCloskey's European conference in Nice, Birol
said the growth of energy demand especially in China and India
will mean coal is an essential fuel.
"There are two critical problems - energy security and
climate change," Birol said.
"When I was in Davos in January the energy discussion was
all about renewables, growth in MW. Soon after I was in
Singapore and the discussion was all about coal and power
generation, talked about in GW. It was like living on two
different planets," he said.
"Governments need to understand better the realities of the
markets when setting climate change targets and to invest in
better technology," he said.
China and India need coal to fuel their power generation
growth needed by their rapidly expanding populations, he said.
China and India have combined to create a new world energy
order driven by their demand, Birol said.
If CO2 emissions targets are to be met, according to targets
set by the G8, global energy efficiency must triple every year
from the 1 pct improvement a year seen over the last 10 years,
To meet emissions targets the world must only build, from
2013, coal or gas power plants with CCS (carbon capture and
storage), renewables or nuclear plants, nothing else, he said.
"I personally believe it is very very very difficult given
realities of the markets to reach these targets. Such big
reductions in CO2 as leaders ask us to do is in contradiction to
what is going on, especially on the research and technology
side," he said.
"We cannot expand power generation and meet energy demand
growth without coal. But climate change is the Achilles heel of
the coal community," he said.
(Reporting by Jackie Cowhig)