Australia coal mining marks challenge for U.N. green push

Mon Nov 3, 2014 4:38am EST
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* U.N. report calls for curb on coal-fired electricity generation

* But number of coal mines in Australia growing

* Coal remains most important fuel for global power generation

By James Regan

SYDNEY, Nov 3 (Reuters) - U.N. calls to curb greenhouse gas emissions by ending most electricity generation using coal will face some tough challenges, with coal mining going through a growth spurt in countries such as Australia.

The U.N on Sunday released a report saying governments could keep climate change in check at manageable costs but would have to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2100 to limit risks of irreversible damage.

Although coal is blamed for contributing to climate change and causing large amounts of harmful pollution, it remains by far the most important fuel for power generation at a global share of around 40 percent.

Australian production of thermal coal is forecast to rise by 8 percent over the next two years to 270 million tonnes, according to government figures, confirming the nation as the world's second's biggest-exporter after Indonesia.

By fiscal 2018/19, production will reach 290 million tonnes, says the Australian Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics, the government's forecaster.   Continued...