Africa|Coal|Defence|Energy|Financial|Gas|Mining|Oil And Gas|Power|SECURITY|Solar
Africa|Coal|Defence|Energy|Financial|Gas|Mining|Oil And Gas|Power|SECURITY|Solar

Coal advocate questions phase-out of the energy mineral

9th March 2021

By: Donna Slater

Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer


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The role of coal in global electricity production needs to receive greater attention and investment as renewable forms of energy, such as wind and solar, currently make up only a small percentage of global energy production and are unreliable, coal investor and advocate Dr Lars Schernikau said during a recent lecture hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand.

Speaking against the backdrop of rising financial-institution reluctance to support coal mining and coal-fired power stations, as well as increasing pressure on countries to exit coal and companies to divest from the energy mineral as part of global decarbonisation efforts, Schernikau made a controversially contrarian defence of coal.

Acknowledging his vested interests in the coal industry, Schernikau spoke on the topic of ‘Energy Policy and Coal in South Africa − A global Macroeconomic Perspective: What is the role of coal in South Africa’s future energy mix’.

Claiming at the very outset not to be a climate-change denier, Schernikau nonetheless disputed the severity of the impact of burning coal and its contribution to climate change.

He also downplayed the severity of rising sea levels, melting polar ice and increasingly extreme weather events, suggesting blame could, for the most part, not be shouldered by the fossil fuels industry.

With the world's population increasing, Schernikau said an increasing amount of power would be required to “pull many nations out of poverty”.

Attempts to phase out coal were, thus, “impossible”, with coal producing about 35% of global electricity and comprising about 25% of primary energy.”

Energy policy was no longer about energy, but about “decarbonisation and saving the climate”.

Energy Ministers, he suggested, were failing to take responsibility for energy availability, security and sustainability.

There was insufficient investment under way, Schernikau asserted, arguing that, unless oil and gas investment increased by 25% a year, every year, for the next three years, the world would face an energy crisis.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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