WCA considers post-Covid-19 trials

18th September 2020

WCA considers post-Covid-19 trials

JULY NDLOVU & MICHELLE MANOOK Coal has been an essential resource for multiple economies throughout the Covid-19 pandemic

The World Coal Association (WCA), having recognised the challenges in developing recovery pathways post Covid-19, welcomed the emphasis in the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) ‘Special Report on Sustainable Recovery’, which looks at boosting economic growth, creating new jobs, and building more resilient and cleaner energy systems.

The IEA report highlighted the significant challenges caused by the pandemic, noting that an inclusive approach towards economic recovery is more vital than ever, as all energy stakeholders must work together to support a clean energy transition.

At the time, WCA CE Michelle Manook emphasised that a pragmatic, solution-focused and agnostic mindset would be needed to achieve all global economic and environmental aspirations.

She added that this was not about ignoring environmental responsibilities or aspirations; it was about realistically balancing all factors that impact society and working together for a sustainable recovery.

Coal has been an essential resource for multiple economies throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and Manook noted that it had become clear that coal was critical for economic recovery.

This makes it even more compelling that government and investment policies are inclusive of all fuels and all clean technologies.

“This is not an ‘either/or’ decision – we need all energy sources and all clean technologies available to us,” she urged.

The IEA has stressed that boosting economic growth and building more resilient and cleaner energy systems, requires a “grand coalition” of stakeholders.

The IEA/ WCA added that the impacts of Covid-19 necessitate a reset in the discussion, moving from the current disparate ideologies to one of pragmatism and inclusivity surrounding transformation, transitioning and meaningful collaboration.

WCA members are committed to shaping a sustainable future for coal, and actively seek collaboration with industries, governments and investors, to innovate and deliver the clean energy transition needed to rebuild economies and communities post Covid-19.

“The coal industry has a track record of demonstrating that it can respond to operational and environmental challenges through innovation and technlogical advancements,” the organisation stated, citing the advances in both carbon capture, its use and storage, as well as the inclusion of hydrogen-technologies.

As previously reported in Mining Weekly, Anglo American Coal South Africa’s July Ndlovu has been appointedthe chairperson of WCA.

Ndlovu, who heads Anglo American’s South African coal business, takes up the position at a time when, in his words, “the role of responsible coal is front and centre”.

Ndlovu replaces WCA’s outgoing chairperson, and Peabody presdent and CEO, Glenn Kellow, who Manook described as having been “committed to reshaping the industry through the development of our ‘Evolving Coal’ strategy”, adding that the WCA continued on this path “to change the future of coal”.