Volume 3 Issue 3

Volume 3 Issue 3

From the Editor

Balancing Objectives at COP21

By Liu Baowen, Cornerstone

Liu Baowen2The international scientific advisory body on climate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has set a clear goal for delegates at COP21: Construct an international agreement to limit global temperature rise to 2˚C. In fact, the IPCC’s recommendations have been clear for years, yet each year the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continues to increase.

Cover Story

The Role of Business and Industry in COP21

By Nick Campbell, Long-time Business Member at International Climate Negotiations

coverClimate change has clearly become a major international issue. Stakeholders from around the world and from all sectors are now focused on how to minimize the impacts of climate change as the potential economic and development impacts are enormous.


Considering the Contribution of Technology Ahead of COP21

By Benjamin Sporton, World Coal Association

Sporton opening HiRes ImageAs 2015 draws to a close, one event will stand out in the calendars of all those connected to the energy industry. COP21 begins in Paris on 30 November—and, for two weeks, delegates will work to achieve a universally binding agreement on the climate. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference has been held annually since the Berlin Mandate in 1995; however, the build-up to the Paris convention has certainly been more intense than in previous years.

Discounting Innovation Could Undermine Climate Objectives

By Robin Batterham, University of Melbourne


Many observers maintain high hopes for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Paris this December. Meeting these aspirations would mean that an international agreement has been reached that will set all nations on a path to serious emissions reductions.

SaskPower’s Case for Carbon Capture and Storage

By Michael Monea, SaskPower

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Nearly a year has passed since SaskPower had the pleasure of inaugurating the Boundary Dam Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project. As the world’s first commercial-scale post-combustion CCS project at a coal-fired power plant, Boundary Dam represents a major step forward for environmentally sustainable coal power and for the future of the power and oil industries.

Deploying Clean Energy in Asia: An Exclusive Interview With Ashok Bhargava of the Asian Development Bank

By Holly Krutka, Cornerstone

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As Director of the Energy Division in the East Asia Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Ashok Bhargava oversees energy-sector operations in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Mongolia. He is an electrical engineer with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and has more than 33 years of energy-sector experience in the Asia-Pacific region and more than 13 years’ experience in the PRC energy sector.

Energy Policy

Economic Development Status is a Lingering Challenge for COP Negotiations

By Jeremy Bowden, Cornerstone

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Tensions between rich and poor countries have long been among the key fault lines preventing any significant global agreement on climate change. At the heart of the issue is the perception of relative responsibility and, especially for poorer countries, a strong desire at the national level to find a balance between development and climate goals. Representatives of poorer countries readily point out that more wealthy countries are to blame for nearly all historical emissions.

Don’t Count Coal Out of a Lower-Emission U.S. Energy Mix

By Fredrick Palmer, Green Coal Solutions and Frank Clemente, Penn State University

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The 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held in Paris in December 2015. The goal of COP21 is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, capping anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and reducing them to near zero toward the end of the century. The U.S. administration has assured its fellow COP21 negotiators that its commitments are achievable and legal and that it is pursuing national-level policies, such as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), to support those commitments.

Exploring the CCS Roadmap Landscape

By Jiang Wenhua, Shenhua Science and Technology Research Institute

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In the months leading up to the COP21 international climate negotiations, it is important to consider how potential emissions reductions can be met at the lowest cost. Widespread deployment of high-efficiency, low-emissions (HELE) technologies could reduce emissions immediately. Implementation of HELE technologies can also increase the efficiency of power plants and industrial facilities, which can partially address the energy penalty associated with carbon capture and storage (CCS, including utilization).

Strategic Analysis

Considering the Challenge of China’s COP21 Commitments: An Exclusive Interview With Jonny Sultoon of Wood Mackenzie

By Li Xing, Cornerstone

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As Research Director of Global Coal Markets for Wood Mackenzie, Mr. Sultoon directs analysis and research for various aspects of the global coal market. His areas of expertise are in short- and long-term demand forecasting for the international coal markets, competition between fuels in the power generation sector, corporate analyses of the major producers and utilities, and fundamentals-based price forecasting for the coal market. He previously served on Wood Mackenzie’s European Gas and Power Research team after five years with Gas Strategies Consulting. Mr. Sultoon holds a BA and MA in Physics from the University of Oxford, UK.

Lignite Rides the Rails in Europe

By Jeffrey Michel, Independent Energy Consultant

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Lignite, or brown coal, is a globally abundant low-grade carbonaceous fuel used predominantly in certain European and eastern Mediterranean countries for electricity generation, district heating, and industrial applications. Lignite has been historically delivered to power plants near the mining site, since its relatively high moisture and low energy content were thought to make wider distribution too expensive. However, this conventional wisdom no longer holds true in Europe, where rising prices, particularly for natural gas, are increasing the radius of economical transportation.

Commercial Recovery of Metals From Coal Fly Ash

By Lucinda Tolhurst, Lucid Insight Ltd

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Coal is usually associated with its energy-producing components, mainly carbon and hydrogen, but many other value-added minerals and metals can be present. Commercial metal extraction from coal is not a new idea. Vanadium and silver extraction from enriched coal sources dates back to the 1800s, and germanium extraction is still active by companies such as Umicore.

Technology Frontiers

Reducing Energy’s Footprint by Producing Water and Storing CO2

By Thomas A. Buscheck, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Jeffrey M. Bielicki, The Ohio State University

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The global energy sector faces many challenges, perhaps the two most important of which are reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, which made up over 86% of primary energy consumption in 2014, and addressing the growing challenge of water scarcity. One key aspect of the landmark U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change is the consideration of a collaborative effort to engage on both challenges simultaneously through research, development, and demonstration of a CO2 capture and storage (CCS) project that would produce freshwater.

The Case for Carbon Capture From Air

By Klaus Lackner, Arizona State University

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Stabilizing the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration requires the nearly complete elimination of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions. In the popular bathtub analogy that equates atmospheric CO2 concentration with the water level in a tub, the water level is held constant by matching the input from the faucet with the outflow through the drain. Unfortunately—and contrary to the usual explanation—in the case of the atmosphere, the drain clogs as the faucet is turned down. Once the atmospheric concentration stops rising, the surface ocean and the biosphere find their balance with the new CO2 level, and transport into the deep ocean will slow as the top layer of the ocean, which is close to equilibrium with the air, grows in size. Therefore, to meet international climate goals annual global emissions must approach zero.

Finding Opportunities for CCUS in China’s Industrial Clusters

By Zhang Jiutian, Zhang Xian and Peng Sizhen, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST)

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The government of China considers addressing climate change to be of the utmost importance. Therefore, the country is exploring how to best approach low-emissions development through innovation and intends to do so even as it pushes ahead with urbanization and industrialization.


Letters to the Editor

To submit a letter, please email cornerstone@wiley.com.


The content in Cornerstone does not necessarily reflect the views of the World Coal Association or its members.