Switching back to coal in times of energy crisis would be a climate “tragedy” – EU

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By Fransiska Nangoy

The European Union’s climate change policy official has said that returning to the use of dirty coal-fired energy during the current energy crisis is “not a smart decision” and that the markets should seize the opportunity to switch to renewable energies.

The collective industrial recovery this year following the pandemic coronavirus crisis has resulted in increased demand and prices for energy everywhere.

In Europe, soaring wholesale gas prices have encouraged more utilities to switch to coal to generate electricity, just as the region is trying to wean countries off highly polluting fuels.

In Asia, demand for coal from giant markets such as China and India has increased as their economies rebooted after major pandemic-induced collapses.

“It will be a tragedy if, in this crisis, we start investing again in coal, an energy with no future and extremely polluting,” European Commission executive vice-president Frans Timmermans told Reuters on Monday in a statement. visit to Indonesia.

“The smart thing to do is, during this energy crisis, to reduce your dependence on fossil fuels as quickly as possible,” he added, noting that the prices of renewables had remained consistently cheap while the prices of gasoline. coal had skyrocketed.

Global coal prices have reached record highs and Indonesia, the leading exporter of thermal coal, has increased its production target for 2021 to meet demand as mining operations have been disrupted by heavy rains.

Coal was part of Timmermans’ discussion with Indonesian officials when he visited ahead of the COP26 climate change talks in Glasgow, Scotland next month.

Indonesia, the eighth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, aims to reach zero net carbon emissions by 2060 or earlier, which includes plans to phase out the use of coal-fired power plants.

Coal currently accounts for around 60% of Indonesia’s electricity production and contributes around 35% of its emissions.

Timmermans said Indonesia’s plan to increase the share of renewables in its energy mix is ​​”laudable and ambitious” and that the EU wants to increase cooperation in this sector.

“We want to cooperate with Indonesia, to make sure we can invest and have technology transfers, bring ideas to the offshore wind, solar or geothermal market,” Timmermans said.

Indonesia will need to invest $ 150-200 billion a year in low-carbon programs over the next nine years to meet its goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2060 or earlier, study finds government.


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