By Judy Peters
Washington (Washington Times) – As coal output and sales continue to rise in the United States (US), a senior energy adviser to the White House has signaled a global “clean coal alliance” that would include the Philippines.
David Banks, who represented Washington at a United Nations climate change conference in Germany last week, said the US “wants to help all coal-dependent economies to burn coal efficiently and cleanly.”
The plan, he said, would be driven by billions of dollars already signed off by President Trump for clean coal research, along with technology developed in Australia, India and China.
“President Trump still intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement, but in good faith we will continue to work with parties to the accord,” Mr. Banks said. “There are 1,600 new coal plants being built around the world, and demand for coal and gas is growing. It’s in the global interest that, if these fuels are going to be used anyway, it must be done as cleanly as possible.”
He said the administration also wanted to try and change a World Bank ban on lending to projects that use coal. Such a change would allow Manila to borrow from the World Bank for future power plants.
The first discovery of coal in the Philippines was on Cebu island in 1827 and the country has un-mined reserves of more than 2.5bn tons.
Coal is used to generate more that 40 percent of all electricity in the Philippines, with a substantial amount used in production of cement. Local supplies are supplemented with imports from Indonesia and Australia.
Mr. Banks said the United States would remain “a global player” in climate change but also understood, “the reality of countries who have no choice but to generate electricity from coal.”
The US delegation said the proposed clean-coal alliance could include China, Australia, India, the Philippines, South Africa and Bangladesh.
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