Top Interview: CEO of FutureCoal, Michelle Manook

January 10, 2024|Interview

Coal is one of the most contentious energy sources in recent years. The fuel that helped ignite the industrial revolution in the UK about 250 years ago is now seen by many as the leading threat to Earth’s climate through its CO2 emissions. However, it is also a fuel that powers over a third of the world’s manufacturing and still supplies over half of the electricity in the Asia-Pacific.

Promoting coal as an energy source today is no easy task. And yet the industry’s main voice, the World Coal Association, has not only embraced the challenge, it has rebranded itself as “FutureCoal: The Global Alliance for Sustainable Coal,” arguing that this fossil fuel has a place in the future energy mix of many countries, such as Japan. Last month, Japan NRG spoke with the CEO of FutureCoal, Michelle Manook, on the group’s outlook and prospects in Asia.


The G7 nations are leading an aggressive push to close coal capacity. The IEA says fossil fuels need to be phased out. But the World Coal Association has rebranded as FutureCoal, indicating you believe the industry has a strong future. What is the aim of the rebrand?

FutureCoal exists to ensure a balanced, rational and science-based approach to the debate about the necessary role coal must play in driving growth, providing energy security, and delivering a lower emissions future.

The launch of FutureCoal has not been a sudden decision. It’s been three years in the making as part of our Evolving Coal strategy, which aims to lift the knowledge among governments, regulators, financiers and other external stakeholders of coal’s total contribution to solving today’s pressing global issues. We call this “raising the coal IQ”. It is up to us and the coal value chain to demonstrate that coal can deliver economically and environmentally.

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