Benjamin Sporton’s vision on cooperating with the UNECE

28th Feb 2017

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in January, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the World Coal Association (WCA) expressed their commitment to working together through UNECE's Committee on Sustainable Energy and its subsidiary bodies.

Here, Benjamin Sporton, WCA Chief Executive, talks about the WCA’s commitment to working with the UNECE and what can be achieved.

  • Why did the World Coal Association sign a MoU with the UNECE?

The UNECE region is home to 20% of the global population. Demand for energy grows and alongside that, the region faces questions on how this energy can be provided as securely, cleanly and affordably as possible.

And this is where the WCA comes in. Coal is used widely across member-states of the UNECE region because it is an affordable, reliable and accessible fuel; countries are looking to coal to power growth. That means we need to help them use coal in the cleanest way possible. For that, we need to focus on the contribution of low emission coal technology in the region, such as high efficiency low emission (HELE) coal and carbon capture use and storage (CCUS) technologies. These technologies have an important role to play and can have an impact in providing affordable energy while helping countries meet their climate objectives.

  • What do you hope to achieve?

With this MOU we define our relationship and structure our future cooperation. We both have a lot to contribute through exchanging relevant information and expertise.

We want to work closely with UNECE to raise awareness of the role of coal in contributing to energy access and low emission coal technologies in combating climate change.  We hope to promote the dialogue between regional stakeholders and the international community to use coal in the best way possible.  

  • What have you got planned?

We’re already in discussions about future initiatives; this includes hosting a joint WCA-UNECE workshop on HELE technologies in Kazakhstan this summer alongside EXPO 2017. This will bring together coal companies, financial institutions and technology companies and present valuable case-studies and lessons-learned to help overcome some of the barriers to the deployment of low emission coal technologies.

Moving forward, we will be working together through UNECE's Committee on Sustainable Energy, the Group of Experts on Cleaner Electricity Production from Fossil Fuels, the Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane, and the Expert Group on Resource Classification. We will also assist in disseminating information on the United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources 2009 (UNFC) and its application to solid minerals.

We are looking forward to cooperating with UNECE and maintaining a close working relationship in order to succeed in this collaboration.