Professor Julian M Allwood
October 2021

Geological Society & IES webinar - Achieving Net Zero: A future without coal?

Ahead of the UN’s COP26 climate change conference, there have been calls and commitments from governments, international organisations, and think-tanks to phase out coal, starting with the power system, in order to mitigate the effects of climate change and meet net zero commitments.

However, the production of essential commodities such as iron, steel and cement for economic growth and global development currently depend on coal, both chemically and energetically. 770kg of coal is required to make 1 ton of steel, emitting around 1.8 tonnes of CO2. This equates to a total of 4 - 7% of all CO2 emissions globally. Although not yet viable at scale, alternatives to coal for steel production do exist, which poses the question – can we achieve our Net Zero future without coal?