Rich world should help emerging countries cut pollution: Glencore chairman

Reuters News
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Posted: May 21, 2015 6:31 AM

By Alister Doyle and Geert De Clercq

PARIS (Reuters) - Rich countries should help developing countries like India limit their carbon emissions by supporting the building of more expensive but cleaner energy plants, Glencore chairman Tony Hayward said on Thursday.

Hayward said that India, where hundreds of millions of people have no access to electricity, is about to build 200 gigawatts of coal-fired power plants, all using conventional technology instead of the less polluting but more expensive supercritical coal-fired plants.

"Rich countries need to support India's energy transition. We are asking them to pay more for their energy than they would otherwise have to because of what we have done in the past 50 years," Hayward said at the Business and Climate summit.

Hayward, chairman of commodity trading and mining giant Glencore, said that from 2000 to 2010 the world built 550 gigawatts of new coal-fired power plants, nearly all with conventional technology.

If new technology had been used, it would have saved 2 billion tonnes of CO2 -- equivalent to India's annual emissions or three times the amount of emission reductions achieved out of the 1997 Kyoto agreement, he said.

"Unless what we deploy allows China and India to complete their industrialization in a different way than we industrialized, we are simply shifting the deck chairs on the Titanic," said Hayward, the former BP chief executive.

New coal plant technologies like gas-fed fluidized bed combustion, high-temperature supercritical plants and coal gasification are more efficient and emit less CO2, according to the World Coal Association.

Hayward said the key challenge for the United Nations climate summit in Paris in December would be to help developing nations avoid carbon emissions.

"At some point someone is going to have to pay ... That is really the task for Paris in December," he said.

World Bank climate change special envoy Rachel Kyte said that many carbon pricing systems are emerging globally, but that a key challenge will be China, which is experimenting with a series of carbon trading systems.

"All eyes are on China. If China moves to a national system, which is what they have said they will do, that will overnight becomes the largest carbon market in the world," she said.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Alister Doyle; Editing by Keith Weir)