December 3, 2015
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editor's note

The fate of the coal industry is unlikely to be solely determined by the Paris climate talks but lobby groups like the World Coal Association are increasingly isolated. The Climate Action Tracker analysis released this week shows there is no climate space for more coal fired power stations and that a 2 ̊C pathway requires a rapid phase-out of existing plants. Building more ‘efficient’ coal plants doesn’t help the climate one little bit.

During the Paris climate talks The Tree will be producing a series of bulletins with links to supporting materials - take a look here.

Bob Burton
CoalWire Editor


The World Coal Association’s mission impossible at the Paris climate talks

With nothing to offer on how the global community can meet the 2 ̊C temperature increase target and a declining membership, the Paris climate conference may well be the World Coal Association’s swansong, writes Bob Burton in EndCoal.
Tweet: The World #Coal Association’s mission impossible at the Paris #climate talks #COP21 #Paris2015

The Alaskan tribe taking on the proposed Chuitna mine

Al Goozmer, the president of the Tyonek Native Village in Alaska, is taking on PacRim’s proposed Chuitna mine in Alaska to protect his “open-air cathedral,” writes Matt McGrath from the BBC.

Tweet: Tyonek Native Village leader Al Goozmer takes on #Chuitna #coal mine to protect his “open-air cathedral”


Anglo American’s mine expansion rejected

Horse-breeders, the wine industry and residents have welcomed the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) recommendation against the expansion of Anglo American’s Drayton South mine in the Hunter Valley. The PAC found the 73 million tonne mine expansion would cause a “real risk” to the neighbouring thoroughbred horse industry and “to diversity within the regional economy.” The PAC also acknowledged the need to protect “the wider reputation and brand of the State of NSW” especially for the wine and tourism industries. The PAC’s recommendation to the Minister for Planning, Rob Stokes, is expected to be adopted. (Sydney Morning Herald, Planning Assessment Commission)

Tweet: Hunter Thoroughbreds welcomes decision on Drayton #coal mine & calls on NSW Govt to end uncertainty @HunterBred

top news

Analysis reveals coal plants could cripple climate: Climate Action Tracker estimates if all 2440 proposed coal plants are built emissions from coal-fired power generation would exceed the two-degree temperature limit pathway by 400 per cent. While many proposed plants never eventuate, the analysis finds that even if no new coal plants are built power sector emissions would exceed the 2 ̊C pathway by 150 per cent. (Climate Action Tracker)

Court lifts night-time ban on Colombian railway:  A court-ordered ban on the night-time operation of coal trains through the town of Bosconia has been overturned after the railway operator Fenoco persuaded the court that the erection of noise mitigation barriers was sufficient to address residents’ concerns. Residents had argued the railway should be re-routed around the town to prevent night-time noise and damage to properties from vibrations. The ban on trains between 10:30pm and 4:30am reportedly cut the capacity of the railway by ten to 15 million tonnes a year affecting exports by Glencore, Drummond and Murray Energy. (Bloomberg, CoalSwarm)
Drought hits new Indian plant: The publicly-owned utility NTPC is objecting to the Maharashtra Government’s insistence  it use recycled water for its almost completed 1320 MW Solapur power plant instead of water from the Ujani dam. Maharashtra is in the grip of a severe drought. NTPC is objecting to using recycled water on the grounds that residues might cause corrosion of the turbines and is adamant it needs high quality water. (The Hindu)

Dutch lawmakers back coal plant phase out: The Dutch Parliament has voted in support of a resolution urging the government to work with energy utilities to phase out all 11 of the country’s coal plants.  The resolution, which did not set a deadline, will now be referred to cabinet for discussion. The government opposed the resolution but its coalition partner, the Labour Party, backed the proposal. Three of the plants – RWE’s 1600 megawatt (MW) Eemshaven plant, EON’s 1116 MW Maasvlakte plant and Engie’s 800 MW Maasvlakte Electrabel plant – have all been commissioned in the last few years. (Business Green)

“Doing coal is a crime … It's a crime against humanity, it's just bad. It pollutes the already vulnerable environment, and coal kills - it kills our air, it kills our biodiversity.  Coal is never an option, coal is not cheap. We must put in the negative effect of the health of the people, the negative effect on biodiversity, the bad effect on the environment, the bad effect on business,”

said Senator Loren Legarda, the chair of the Philippines Senate Finance Committee.


Australia: PAC approves Rio Tinto Warkworth mine expansion; local residents vow to resist.

Australia: Queensland Government plans to extinguish native title to help Adani.

Botswana: POSCO and Marubeni consortium selected as preferred bidder for 300 MW plant.
Canada: First Nation sues for US$12 million over 2013 Obed Mountain Mine tailings dam collapse.

Indonesia: Court to rule on legal challenge against Japanese-backed Batang plant by year-end.

South Africa: Gazprom works on feasibility study for Limpopo underground coal gasification project.

companies + markets

UK scraps CCS demonstration fund: The UK Government has announced   it has scrapped the US$2.3 billion budget for competitive bids for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects. The scrapping of the funding is likely to result in the collapse of the proposed 448 MW White Rose coal project. The other bidder in the competition was SSE which proposed a CCS plant at its Peterhead gas-fired power station. (BBC, UK Government)

Doubts grow over unfunded US rehabilitation liabilities: Data from the US Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement, indicates over 400,000 hectares of land has been “disturbed” by coal mines across the ten largest coal producing states. However, as many states have relied on companies ‘self-bonding’ to cover rehabilitation costs, cash-strapped companies close to bankruptcy can’t cover the liabilities. Wyoming, Texas and West Virginia are the three states most reliant on companies being able to cover their own rehabilitation liabilities. (Indiana Public Media)

High costs slow sales of Japanese coal plants: An analysis of lending by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has found that of 23 coal plants funded since 2003 only one used ‘ultra-supercritical’ (USC) technology which uses less coal than conventional plants. Research by a coalition of environmental groups found since 2010 only 7 per cent of plants funded by JBIC used the USC technology touted by the coal industry. USC plants cost up to 40 per cent more than a conventional plant but the attractiveness of them is being undercut by falling international coal prices. (Reuters)
Stockpiles grow at Indian plants and imports slow: Coal stockpiles at a sample of 100 Indian power stations have doubled in the last year as domestic production has increased. While stockpiles of imported coal have increased only marginally, coal imports are likely to fall further. NTPC, the publicly-owned utility which generates one-quarter of Indian electricity, had intended to import 22 million tonnes of thermal coal this year but has not placed any new orders. (Economic Times)

US coal burn falls faster than utilities planned, stockpiles grow: A survey in September of utilities has found 71 per cent were burning less coal than estimated and none higher than projections. Over half those surveyed had coal stockpiles for more than 50 days’ operation. The rise of wind, solar and natural gas as competitors for coal “really challenges the underpinning design of the entire supply chain that was put together years ago,” said Rob Hardman from Dynegy, a major utility. (Platts)

BHP Billiton expects met coal price slump: BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance executive, Rag Udd, has told a mining industry conference he thinks the global metallurgical coal price “will get worse before it gets better.” BHP Billiton is the world’s largest seaborne market exporter of metallurgical coal. Metallurgical coal is currently selling for about US$70 a tonne. (Australian Financial Review) [Paywall]



The Coal Gap: planned coal-fired power plants inconsistent with 2 ̊C and threaten achievement of INDCs, Climate Action Tracker, December 2015. (Pdf)

This 10-page report estimates the gap between the 2 degree increase pathway and just existing plant as well as the construction of all proposed plants. This concise report is essential reading.

 Coal and climate infographics, December 2015.

A collection of infographics on everything from coal’s water use, health and climate impacts and renewable alternatives are available for sharing or adaptation.

Slowing the Growth of Coal Power Outside China: The Role of Chinese Finance, Climate Policy Initiative, November 2015. (Infographics also available from this page as well as the report.)

This report details the US$21-38 billion Chinese banks and financial institutions provided for international coal plants, especially those in India, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

CoalWire is a weekly bulletin of coal-related news published by CoalSwarm. Please send material which you think should be included or suggestions for features to CoalWire is archived at

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