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COAL : STUDY: RUSSIAN COAL ENDANGERING EUROPE'S CLIMATE STRATEGY.

A new study presented in Brussels, on 9 March, by the German Marshall Fund of the United States warns Russia's increasing focus on coal is endangering Europe's climate strategy. The study notes that in Russia coal will rise from a 38% share of the energy sector's fuel balance to 38% in 2015. Russia has the second largest reserves in the world and is the fifth largest coal producer. The country is also looking to deliver large quantities of coal to Asia.

The author of the study, Kevin Rosner, points out that Russia is already the world's third largest national emitter of greenhouse gases. It is set, by 2030, to approach the US' top rank as a per capita emitter. The Russian energy sector is planning, adds Rosner, to install some 7,000 MW of extra electrical production capacity from coal by 2012. This will require coal consumption to rise from 130 million tonnes per year now to 300 million tonnes per year by 2020 as additional generating capacity is brought online.

Rosner calls for an intensified focus from the EU and the US as well as international financial institutions, NGOs and industry to help Russia increase energy efficiency. He wants the EU and the US to collaborate on a joint study of the greenhouse gas emissions implications of adding new coal-fired capacity under the present terms of the 2030 Russian energy strategy.

Heinrich Hick, from Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger's cabinet, shares concerns raised by Russia's mounting carbon footprint. Hick noted that Russia is exporting gas (with its lower emissions) to the most remunerative markets. This points to the need to talk to Russia on their fuel mix options. Also key, with the EU focus on zero emissions, is a dialogue on technology. However, helping Russia bring down its energy intensity (and emissions) also means using non-Russian technologies.

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Publication:Europe Energy
Date:Mar 24, 2010
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