Managing the decline of fossil fuels in the U.K.: lessons for developing countries

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18311/jmmf/2020/27643

Abstract

As is well-known, hydrocarbons resources are finite and once extracted they are put to use and cannot be replaced. So, what do governments do when faced with geological data that tells them their resources might reach a peak in only a few years or worse, that they have already began to decline? How can these resources be used to transform positively the economy and society if they are only going to be producing benefits for a very few more years? This question gives a new flavour to the traditional concerns that governments have about attracting scarce investment capital. Some of the very largest investors will look at the geology and say: not for us, thank you. Are there any lessons from countries around the world that might help to shape government policy in response to these pressures? There indeed many examples to draw from however, this paper will focus on the UK experience and lessons that can be drawn from this experience. In this respect, this paper attempts to summarise a few of these experiences and offer some summary recommendations to governments in Asia and Africa that may wish to consider the policy implications of this inevitable development. It draws on the CEPMLP/Hub Databank of Country Laws and Regulations.

References

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Coal for instance, the technology aimed at reducing emissions include, high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) and carbon capture storage (CCS) emissions.

Although this paper is focused on developing countries in Asia and Africa, we note that other parts of the globe are also endowed with massive coal resources. For instance, as of 2018, Europe accounted for 12.8% of the global coal reserves while Asia Pacific and North America accounted for 42.2% and 24.5% respectively. See, BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 68th edition, 2019. Can be accessed at https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/business-sites/en/ global/corporate/pdfs/energy-economics/statistical-review/bp-statsreview- 2019-coal.pdf.

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Besides electricity the other sectors that rely on coal include; the liquid fuels manufacture sector; and the basic iron and steel industry. Together, these three sectors account for more than 80% of domestic coal demand in terms of value and approximately 70% in terms of volumes.

Additionally, indirectly, the coal industry is responsible for creating and sustaining over 170,000 jobs outside the industry. See, Chamber of Mines, National Coal Strategy for South Africa, 2018. Can be accessed at,

Africa's proven oil and gas reserves account for 7.5% and 7.1% of global reserves respectively.

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With respect to environmental concerns, we note that of all energy sources coal emits the most carbon dioxide emissions.

We also note that the level of employment from the coal industry has significantly reduced. For instance, in the 1920 UK coal employed 1.2 million but this number reduced to only 620 workers in 2017- 2000 times lower. Additionally, deep mined coal production came to an end in 2016 as Kellingley colliery, the UK's last deep coal mine closed in 2015.

In the 1940s, electricity accounted for only 12 percent of UK coal consumption. By 2017 this has increased to over 60 per cent. Nevertheless, natural gas, nuclear and renewables have displaced coal in the energy mix and by 2017 coal's share in the energy supply had fallen to only 5 per cent.

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UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), can be accessed at https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-developmentgoals. html

This involves gasification of a feedstock (such as coal) to form synthesis gas, which may be shifted to produce a H2 and CO2-rich gas mixture, from which the CO2 can be efficiently captured and separated, transported, and ultimately sequestered.

This refers to capture of CO2 from exhaust gases of combustion processes.

Fossil fuels such as coal are burnt.

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Published

2021-04-18

How to Cite

Nalule, V. R. (2021). Managing the decline of fossil fuels in the U.K.: lessons for developing countries. Journal of Mines, Metals and Fuels, 68(4), 131–135. https://doi.org/10.18311/jmmf/2020/27643

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