The UN’s climate chief, Christina Figueres, this week shocked the coal industry by calling for existing reserves to be left in the ground.
In the controversial speech, delivered at the International Coal and Climate Summit, Figueres told coal industry experts and executives that leaving existing coal reserves in the ground is the best chance for tackling climate change.
The comments stunned the audience, who were expecting a talk on promoting growth within the industry and new technology.
In her talk, Figueres urged the coal industry to transform itself and make the move into renewable energy.
She challenged some of the world’s largest coal producing companies to close down all sub-critical coal power plants and move away from the traditional ways the coal industry works, instead capturing and storing carbon from new plants.
Figueres said: “The coal industry must change and you are decision makers who have the knowledge and power to change the way the world uses coal.
“The coal industry has the opportunity to be part of the worldwide climate solution by responding proactively to the current paradigm shift.” (Read the full statement here)
The International Coal and Climate Summit brings together leaders from the world’s largest coal producing companies, senior policy-makers, business leaders and other industry experts and academics.