(EnergyAsia, July 4 2013, Thursday) — The chairman and CEO of one of the world’s largest coal mining firms has endorsed the vision of China’s new government to improve the country’s air quality by accelerating the use of emissions control technology while continuing to use coal to fuel the economy.

China’s State Council recently announced new measures to address urban air quality through rapid upgrades to pollution controls and more stringent enforcement actions, while continuing to use more coal for electricity generation, conversion to other fuels and chemicals, and steel production.  China is the world’s largest coal consumer and has led major economies with unprecedented economic growth in recent decades.

Gregory H. Boyce, head of US Peabody Energy, has praised the government of President Xi Jinping and Premier Le Keqiang “for taking steps to accelerate the use of emissions control technologies across the nation’s expanding industrial sector while increasing the coal use that has fuelled the nation’s stunning economic development.”

Following a keynote address at an industry conference in Canberra, Australia, he said:

“The approach announced by China’s leaders has proven successful in the US in the past, allowing substantial improvement in emissions from coal-fuelled generation in recent decades. It addresses air quality challenges – while increasing coal use to fuel economic growth – through greater investment in and use of technology that is widely available.”

According to Mr Boyce, the Xi administration’s measures are consistent with energy policy recommendations made by Peabody at the 2013 China Development Forum (CDF) Economic Summit in Beijing.

He said China should defend its right to develop the economy and society though the use of its abundant coal resources, follow the proven US model for solving urban air quality challenges by increasing the deployment of modern emissions control technology, and adopt the principles of 21st Century coal by implementing the highest standards for worker safety, resource recovery, land restoration and water use in its mining sector.

“Affordable, reliable electricity benefits both households and businesses and is the backbone of economic growth,” said Mr Boyce, who predicts global coal demand, led by China and India, to increase by around 1.4 billion metric tons over the next five years.

Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private-sector coal company and advocate of sustainable mining and clean coal solutions, serves metallurgical and thermal coal customers in more than 25 countries on six continents.