American Coal Council Conference of the Parties (COP21) Statement 12.13.2015
Monday, December 14, 2015
Posted by: Jason Hayes
December 13, 2015
Washington, DC - The Conference of the Parties meetings have concluded with a new accord. The 2015 version coming out of Paris may be hailed by some as a historic turning point for the planet, but the inability to obtain binding commitments on greenhouse gases underscores deep concerns about the severe economic impacts of changing how people around the world would get and use energy. The regulatory path already taken in the U.S. by our own administration with EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) illustrates just that point. Re-engineering our electric system to reduce carbon emissions to comply with the CPP is estimated to come at a price tag approaching $300 billion, impose threats to electric system reliability, and have virtually no effect on climate change. This is not a formula other nations are eager to emulate, and here at home the CPP lacks congressional support and already faces legal challenges by 27 of the 47 affected states.
Suggestions to leave fossil fuels in the ground are not aligned with the reality of the world’s growing energy needs. Fossil fuels will continue to be utilized because they are available, accessible, scalable, and reliable. An estimated 1,200,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fueled generation are planned or under construction globally, which is nearly 40% of the total generating capacity for all technologies planned or under construction. China and India together account for 70% of this amount, and Asia in total accounts for 89% of it.[i]
The key to global emissions reductions – whether conventional emissions or greenhouse gases – lies in continuing to develop and deploy technologies for lowering emissions. The U.S. EPA regulatory approach on carbon emissions for America’s power sector would only inhibit technology development.
The American Coal Council calls on the U.S. administration and other global leaders to use the Paris accord as the foundation to support advanced high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) technologies for coal power plants and to accelerate the development of carbon capture and storage technology. A low emissions future for the world is impossible without such support.
[i] Written Testimony of Stephen Eule, Vice President Institute for 21st Century Energy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, November 18, 2015, p. 10-12.