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Coal on defense after World Bank report

July 18, 2013 at 7:48 AM   |   Comments

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LONDON, July 18 (UPI) -- Natural gas is not the panacea for global economic health and a low-carbon future as touted by the World Bank, a coal advocacy group said.

The World Bank this week said it would no longer fund the development of coal-fired power plants in poor countries unless there are no other energy alternatives available. Instead, the bank said it would help developing countries build a regional market for more climate-friendly energy solutions like natural gas.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim in June said climate issues were already having an impact on the world's poor. He pointed the finger at the world's major economic powers, saying they have a responsibility to protect underdeveloped nations from the threat of climate change.

The World Coal Association credited coal-fired power with turning the Chinese economy from bust to boom.

"No other poverty alleviation strategy in modern history has been more effective than the one implemented by China and driven by an economy fueled at over 70 percent by coal," WCA Chief Executive Milton Catelin said in a statement Wednesday from London.

Rachel Kyte, World Bank vice president for sustainable development, said the bank was offering a "pragmatic" solution to energy development.

"We need to ensure that everyone is reaping the benefits of modern energy by 2030, and we need to do so sustainably," she said.

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