Coal and Sustainable Development
In addition to its direct role as an energy resource, coal plays a significant global role in sustainable development. Coal mining is a critical contributor to many economies. Coal directly provides more than seven million jobs worldwide and supports many more millions. Coal production is the key economic activity in many communities. In 2010 the coal industry invested more than US$7 billion in capital expenditures in developing countries.
From providing employment, export and royalty revenues through to local services and the development of infrastructure, coal mining makes a substantial contribution to improving the livelihoods of many.
This is especially true in developing countries where coal mining makes a major contribution to national economies allowing them to grow stronger and address the challenges of poverty and development.
Coal is also a key component of important industrial processes such as steel and cement manufacturing - both of which are central to building the essential infrastructure of growing economies.
Time for Action - Delivering Sustainable Development
Delivering sustainable development is a significant global challenge. Ensuring access to electricity and supporting economic growth is essential to global efforts to eradicate poverty and support human development. Addressing global CO2 emissions is essential to mitigating the impacts of climate change. Managing our environment is essential to conserve biodiversity. These challenges all require coordinated and integrated international action.
WCA's three recommendations for delivering sustainable development are:
- An ambitious target for global energy access must be adopted. This target needs to be one that will support the eradication of poverty, the growth of businesses and industries and true economic and social development. National governments and global institutions should work towards an energy target of at least 400MW of installed electrical generation capacity per million of population.
- National governments and international institutions must support the rapid deployment of all advanced coal technologies, particularly improved efficiencies at power stations and CCS.
- International financial institutions must adopt policies that will allow national governments to determine which energy solutions are appropriate to their needs and support those decisions with the appropriate financial backing.
In 2010 the coal industry invested more than US$7 billion in capital expenditures in developing countries.
Coal directly provides more than seven million jobs worldwide and supports many more millions. Mining employers often invest in improving the skills of their workforce - skills that can be transferred to other employers and other industries.