Monday, March 30, 2015

Shift from Coal to Gas? Not too quick please, says BHP Billiton Chief

The CEO of BHP Billiton, Andrew Mackenzie, takes issue [] with vocal natural gas producers who claim that gas should replace coal in energy production as fast as possible as a bridge to an economy based on lower CO2 emission.
I think there is a marketing ploy, which is ‘give up coal and burn more gas.’ (...) I am not against the trend, but come on — the last time I looked there was plenty of carbon in methane and there is huge amounts of carbon in oil, and the carbon emissions from transport are just as much a problem as the carbon emissions from coal-fired power stations.
Personally, I've noted especially the aggressive ad campaign of Statoil, claiming that gas is the energy of the immediate future until renewable energies can take over.

So what's his favoured solution? So he actually doesn't disagree with the shift to gas, even if it's a "marketing ploy", as long as it'll be slow. In the mean time, carbon capture and storage (CCS) should be developed. CCS is currently not a very popular strategy in the mix of CO2 reductions, partly due to costs, which may go down once further research and pilot programs are executed. The time required to develop the technology further will probably be measured in decades.

So that's where I'm not fully understanding the claim. On the one hand, coal producers state that pressure to "close coal[] "a very western, rich country solution" [], given that it's a cheap and abundant source of energy for developing countries.
McKenzie stated in an earlier interview, “I don’t think the answer is to keep it [coal] in the ground because energy prices will just shoot up.” []
However, if he then then argues that there should be a global carbon price and investments in one of the most expensive CO2 reducing options, then doesn't this inevitably increases the price?

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