Climate Ideals Clash With Coal Realities At Polish-Led U.N. Talks | 11/22/2012 | Staff
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KATOWICE, Poland (Reuters) – Delegates at U.N. climate talks in the Polish city of Katowice point to the mining museum next to the conference venue as the proper place for coal, which provides 80 percent of the country’s electricity.

Poland’s decision to host the negotiations to revive the 2015 Paris agreement on phasing out fossil fuel has laid bare the tension between high-minded goals and business realities.

Drive - Conference - Venue - Region - Dozen

A short drive from the conference venue, at the Silesian region’s dozen or so remaining mines, tonnes of freshly dug coal thunder down shoots to be rail-roaded to power plants for carbon-intensive generation.

Coal bosses see a need to address climate risk, but say Poland must use thermal coal for electricity until it has a better option.

Silesia - Coal - Steel - Mineral - European

Silesia also produces coking coal, used in steel, and viewed as a strategic mineral even by the European Union, which seeks to be an environmental leader.

Poland’s JSW, the European Union’s largest coking coal producer, is seeking to grow.

World - Increase - Carbon - Dioxide - Emissions

“The world has to tackle the increase of carbon dioxide emissions, but I do not see a chance the world can live without steel these days and there is not an easy solution to substitute steel and substitute coking coal,” CEO Daniel Ozon told Reuters.

Financial backing can be an issue for all forms of coal and JSW has its eye on Chinese banks as international lenders are wary.

Poles - Coal - Mining - Independence

For many Poles, coal mining symbolizes national independence.

State-dominated companies can look to a government striving to win over an electorate divided between an older generation that associates coal with a reliable income and a sense of community, and youths engaged in climate protests.

Demonstrators - Business - Works - Shareholders - Side

As the demonstrators march, international business works to keep shareholders on side.

One of the climate team from the world’s biggest producer of coking coal BHP was among business representatives...
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