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Coal vs Climate

Coal vs Climate

Coal is grabbing headlines – China has pledged to stop financing new coal plants abroad, the Liberals campaigned on a promise to ban thermal coal exports, and the Alberta government backtracked on a plan to open up the foothills and mountains to mining. Metallurgical coal is also under fire with a global push for carbon-free steel. So what is the future for coal in China, Canada and the world more broadly? What role can Canadian LNG play in displacing China coal-fired electricity, and what does the experience of coal contraction globally tell us about the future for other fossil resources?

On Episode 22 of Energy vs Climate David, Sara, Ed, and special guest Edward Cunningham, Director of the Harvard Kennedy School Asia Energy and Sustainability Initiative, mine for answers.


@2:34 Kerry Lines up Pledges to Scrub Emissions from Carbon Heavy Industries

@4:34 The Nobel Prize in Physics 2021 goes to climate modellers
2014's Nobel prize for blue LED

@7:49 Not coming to a road near you any time soon - Self-driving cars

@9:13 Mining looks to electric, autonomous vehicles to reduce costs and improve efficiency

@11:17 Coal timeline graphic (pg. 52)

@15:02 Coal in China

@24:29 Belt-and-road news

@24:57 China’s Global Power Database tracks power plants financed by Chinese foreign direct investment and/or China's two global policy banks

@31:20 Assessing China’s efforts to pursue the 1.5°C warming limit

@37:40 IEA World Energy Outlook 2021 (Coal plant age at retirement)
Contributions by different countries/regions to CO2

@41:57 Canadian LNG to displace Chinese coal-fired electricity?
Pembina Institute on LNG

@47:22 Global Liquefied Natural Gas Expansion Exceeds Demand 1for Coal-to-gas Switching in Paris Compliant Pathways

@50:00 Carbon tariffs and Met Coal

@54:25 CCUS in China

@57:54 China’s largest department capture project is a global minnow
EvC Episode 19: Carbon Capture

@58:30 What coal tell us about the future for other fossil fuels.

About your co-hosts:

Edward Cunningham is the Director of Ash Center China Programs and of the Asia Energy and Sustainability Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer of Public Policy, focusing on energy markets and governance, international economics and competitiveness, the political economy of development, and China’s integration into the world. Most recently he has engaged in work on the rise of Chinese private wealth and philanthropy. He serves as an advisor to private and publicly listed companies in the energy, environmental, and financial services sectors.

David Keith is a professor at Harvard in Engineering and the Kennedy School. He is the founder of Carbon Engineering and was formerly a professor at the University of Calgary. He splits his time between Canmore and Cambridge.

Sara Hastings-Simon studies energy transitions at the intersection of policy, business, and technology. She’s a policy wonk, a physicist turned management consultant, and a professor at the University of Calgary and Director of the Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Development.

Ed Whittingham is a clean energy policy/finance consultant, fellow at the Public Policy Forum and a mentor with the Creative Destruction Lab. He is the former executive director of the Pembina Institute.