29 October 2009

Pakistan's Coal

Speaking in Pakistan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encourages the exploitation of Pakistan's coal reserves:

There is no doubt that energy is at the heart of many of the economic problems that Pakistan faces – the unreliability, the erratic cross-structure, the failure to capture the full load that is produced. It’s just a lot of problems. And one of the things that Ambassador Holbrooke’s team has done is to do an in-depth study of what are the most difficult issues, but what could be addressed in a very systematic way.

So as I said earlier, we made our announcement yesterday. But I appreciate the kind of chicken-and-egg issue that you were talking about – the more access, the more economic development, the greater the energy challenges. And I think that there is no prohibition that I know of internationally, and I asked Minister Qureshi whether there had been any prohibition nationally under developing your coal deposits. Now, obviously, that is not the best thing for the climate, but everybody knows that. But many of your neighbors are producing coal faster than they can even talk about it. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a fact that coal is going to remain a part of the energy load until we can transition to cleaner forms of energy.

So getting the resources to exploit your coal as opposed to being dependent upon imported energy is a choice for you to make, but it is certainly a choice that your neighbors have made. And that’s something that should attract foreign investment and should attract capital investment within your own country. And we don’t know how we’re going to proceed on the climate change issue. We’re working hard to come to some framework before Copenhagen, but coal will be, for the foreseeable future, part of the energy mix. And if you have these kinds of reserves, you should see the best and cleanest technology for their extraction and their use going forward.