Statoil chief rails against coal’s place in European energy

Rune Bjørnson, Statoil's senior vice president of Natural Gas, said the European Union must overhaul the bloc's emissions trading scheme (ETS) to raise carbon prices and make coal less price-competitive.

In an interview with the Petroleum Economist website Mr Bjornson says the European Union ought to prioritise the displacement of coal ahead of increasing the production of renewables.
Rune Bjørnson
"The EU should stick to trying to fix the Emissions Trading System (ETS) and leave the rest to the markets. I'm more and more in doubt about the EU's ability to deal with the (emissions reduction) issue.”

“The elephant in the room is coal. Without displacing it Europe is going to struggle to reach its targets."

Just last week, the EU said it wanted to boost Europe's use of renewable energy to comprise 40 per cent of the continent's energy mix by 2030.

Advocates of gas energy say natural gas-fired power plants emit lower levels of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides than coal-fired plants, while burning natural gas produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions (25 to 40 per cent lower per unit of generated electricity) than coal.

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