Coal is ‘king’ as gas prices soar, Total CEO says — and it’s backfiring on cleaner energy goals

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Vapor rises from the cooling towers of the Turow coal powered power plant, operated by PGE SA, in Bogatynia, Poland.Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesSurging natural gas prices have led to a jump in coal use, with plants in Europe and Asia firing back up as temperatures decline and the world grapples with worsening gas shortages.Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne on Wednesday stressed the need to achieve price stability, contending that lower gas prices will reduce the need to rely on the higher-polluting coal, but that the transition to cleaner energy has also created an imbalance in the market. "High pricing is not good news — of course immediately for my company results are better, but for customers" is it not, Pouyanne told CNBC's Hadley Gamble during a Russia Energy Week panel in Moscow.Replacing coal with gas "is good for climate change, but to do that, we need to have a lower price," the CEO said. "Because coal today is a king, because coal is cheaper than all the other so
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