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Exploring the role of fossil fuels in achieving environmental, economic and social objectives

Sustainable development cannot happen without sustainable energy, and fossil fuels will remain a necessary component of sustainable energy for the foreseeable future. From 20 to 23 October, over 100 representatives from UNECE member States and beyond gathered in Geneva for the first UNECE Sustainable Energy Week of 2014 to discuss topics ranging from carbon capture and storage and cleaner electricity production from fossil fuels to sustainable management of coal mine methane. These activities serve to reduce the carbon footprint of fossil fuel production and use. 

The cleaner electricity production workshop and stakeholder meeting on 20 October featured the third round of consultations on the UNECE Recommendations to UNFCCC on how Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and CCS for Enhanced Oil Recovery should be treated in a Post-Kyoto Protocol Agreement. The tenth session of the Group of Experts on Cleaner Electricity Production from Fossil Fuels on 21 October reviewed and revised the CCS recommendations, which have now been recirculated to a broad stakeholder community for comment. Once finalized, these recommendations will be submitted to the upcoming meeting of the Committee on Sustainable Energy, 19–21 November, for endorsement.  The UNECE Executive Secretary will then forward the recommendations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for further action.  Experts agreed that CCS must be a crucial component of the climate change mitigation policy portfolio in the post-2015 instrument. Details of the opening at the beginning of October of the world’s first and largest commercial-scale CCS coal-fired power plant in Saskatchewan, Canada were provided. This CCS plant will save emissions of one million tonnes of CO2 annually, the equivalent to taking 250,000 cars off the road annually.

The Joint Meeting of UNECE and the Coal Subcommittee of the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) on 22 October discussed coal mine methane (CMM) projects and activities throughout the world. GMI underlined the value it places on the cooperation with UNECE on CMM in delivering on its work. The ninth session of the Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane was held on 23 October and discussed, among other topics, an expanded collaboration with international organizations including the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), as well as the establishment of an International Centre of Excellence on Coal Mine Methane in Poland. The International Centre of Excellence will be the principal platform for dissemination of good practices in effective methane drainage and use in coal mines.

The next UNECE Sustainable Energy Week will be held from 17 to 21 November 2014 and will focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as the 23rd session of the Committee on Sustainable Energy.

For more information, please visit: http://www.unece.org/energy.html or contact branko.milicevic@unece.org