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World NewsEx-Unilever CEO Paul Polman takes swipe at Australia

Ex-Unilever CEO Paul Polman takes swipe at Australia

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The former CEO of shopper items big Unilever has informed CNBC it was “disappointing” that the Glasgow Climate Pact’s language on coal was watered down, however expressed hope that it will likely be firmed up at the COP27 and COP28 summits in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.  

Speaking to CNBC’s Dan Murphy final week at the Adipec power trade discussion board in Abu Dhabi, Paul Polman appeared philosophical in regards to the deal agreed at COP26, by which India and China insisted on a last-minute change of fossil gas language — from a “phase out” of coal to a “phase down.”

It was “disappointing that we had to water down the wording on coal to … phase down,” he mentioned, “But I believe that the direction again once more is set and that we will accelerate.”

“If that is the compromise in the interim, hopefully in Egypt or in Abu Dhabi we’ll have phase out — there’s no other choice.”

“We have to, it would be stupid not to,” Polman went on to state, earlier than taking goal at Australia, a rustic the place coal nonetheless performs an necessary position.  

“Australia has to realize that as well: 56% coal, still, in that country, is unsustainable,” he mentioned. “One of the highest emissions per capita in the world, it’s unsustainable.”

“And for the prime minister to run around, Scott Morrison, to say the free market will take care of that, it’s just beyond naive.”

“And I think the rest of the world will not let that happen anymore,” Polman, who’s the co-founder and co-chair of the social enterprise Imagine, mentioned. “We’re all in the same boat: it’s called planet Earth.”

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According to figures from the Australian authorities, fossil fuels accounted for 76% of whole electrical energy era in 2020, with coal’s share coming in at 54%, fuel at 20% and oil at 2%. In 2019, coal was answerable for 56% of whole electrical energy era in Australia.

The Australian prime minister’s workplace didn’t reply to a request for remark from CNBC concerning Polman’s remarks.

Last Monday, Morrison was requested if he agreed that COP26 had sounded the dying knell for coal, a reference to feedback made by U.Okay. Prime Minister Boris Johnson after the summit had wrapped up.

“No,” he replied. “I don’t believe it did, and for all of those who are working in that industry in Australia, they’ll continue to be working in that industry for decades to come.”

“Because there will be a transition that will occur over a long period of time and I make no apologies for Australia standing up for our national interests, whether they be our security interests or our economic interests.”

Morrison, who was chatting with reporters again in Australia, went on to say that “we have a balanced plan to achieve net zero by 2050.”

“But we’re not going to make rural and regional Australians pay for that, we’re going to do this in a balanced way, focusing on the technological advances that we know will actually see us solve this problem.”

“We’re not going to tax Australians do to that, we’re not going to legislate them and regulate them and force them to do things,” he mentioned.

“I think Australians have had a gutful of governments telling them what to do over the last couple of years,” he mentioned, “and our approach going forward to secure our economic recovery is not tell businesses what to do, not tell customers what to do. Our plan is to ensure that they can take the lead, that their choices take the lead.”

According to the International Energy Agency, coal’s share of worldwide electrical energy era in 2019 was 36.7%.

While it stays an necessary supply of electrical energy, coal has a considerable impact on the setting and the U.S. Energy Information Administration lists a variety of emissions from coal combustion. These embody carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulates and nitrogen oxides.

Elsewhere, Greenpeace has described coal as “the dirtiest, most polluting way of producing energy.”

“When burnt, it releases more carbon dioxide than oil or gas, so it’s a big problem when it comes to climate change,” the environmental group provides.

“Coal also produces toxic elements like mercury and arsenic, and small particles of soot which contribute to air pollution.”

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