Coal's declining appeal in the world's future energy mix was underlined last week by the World Bank.

The bank said it would try to combat global warming by financing coal-fired power plants only in regions where the fossil fuel was the only option.

While this is going to mean little for big new coal projects planned by Chinese and Indian governments and private operators, it is another warning to Australia's second-biggest export industry that developing so-called clean-coal technology is important.

If a way to burn emissions-intensive coal in a cleaner and cost-competitive way can be found, it will improve the appetite for Australian coal, both for use here and overseas. There are many technologies being investigated, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS), drying coal before burning and injecting pulverised coal into high-pressure plants.

Source: The Australian - See full article