UN Development Program Advises PNG To Avoid Developing Coal Industry

Government considers options for electricity generation

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 8, 2016) – The United Nations Development Programme has weighed into the debate in Papua New Guinea on whether to develop a coal industry.

PNG's government is considering coal-powered energy options, with the Mineral Resources department this year directing ten million kina  [US$3 million] towards exploring the sector.

However plans for a coal power plant in Lae are still in their early stages and yet to be approved by Morobe's provincial administration.

The parliamentary opposition had come out strongly against coal development, saying it runs counter to PNG's obligations as a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

EMTV reported the UNDP was advocating commitment to the global move towards affordable and clean energy, as laid out in its Sustainable Development Goals.

The UNDP's country co-ordinator Roy Trivedy said PNG should invest in renewable energy sources and just leave the coal in the ground.

"It won't go away," he said. "Let's try and focus where we know the majority of our people can benefit, which is through renewables."

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