Shifting away from coal and toward nuclear power

The last time John Hulsman met renowned British banker Stephen Green, he was describing the problems he thought Europe faced in trying to prevent its banking sector from flaking out into another financial crisis. Now, back onshore with the U.K. as its host country at the 24th World Economic Forum annual summit in Davos, Switzerland, he is focusing on efforts to cut the carbon footprint of British industry. “I’m an advocate of reorienting the industrial sector away from coal and the fuel mix,” Green told a packed room at Davos. “It’s about a lower carbon future.”

He has taken his counsel to the British government: British-owned oil and gas company BP is set to set a target to cut coal emissions, mainly from its coal production at power plants. It plans to divert some of its otherwise “extremely lucrative” coal revenue into a climate investment fund — a deal currently facing a legal challenge by green campaigners. The fund is a move Green supported, but he said it does not go far enough: “As I’ve always said, the fund should be 100 percent climate.”

Green also said that he believed that oil was essential to global development. “We are a nation of consumers, of savers, and of producers. We should be producing, consuming and producing oil,” he said.

Stephen Green is chairman of the International Energy Agency, which advises 20 countries on energy policy.

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